Getting ready to be seated at his show’s final Television Critics Association panel Tuesday, “Lost” co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof confessed to thinking, “I can’t believe they’re going to let us get away with it.”
With the two-hour final-season premiere of the ABC series set for February 9, Lindelof, fellow executive producer Carlton Cuse and the rest of the “Lost” crew have known for four years what their end date was.
But the question has lingered: was ABC really going to let a top-rated show end on top and on its own terms?
“Personally, I have this feeling of tremendous gratitude while everyone still cares,” Lindelof said. “They’re letting us go out while we still love each other instead of saying it’s about time. To allow us to end it is tremendous gift.”
In fact, according to Cuse, the producers -- who will wind down their still-top-10-rated show with 16 episodes from February through May, bookended with two two-hour installments -- haven’t even been coerced to do a spin-off.
“The network has not pressured us at all,” he said. “We are definitely ending this show in May. There will be no implanted sequel or backdoor pilot embedded in that ending.”
"What I do hope this decision emphasizes is the importance of creative and putting creative first," said ABC Entertainment Group president Stephen McPherson. "It respected the viewers and it respected the show. If we start to make it just about the business -- how many episodes can we squeeze out of a show -- it's bad for business. It's bad for us when you're just managing for margins."
The producers also expressed happiness at the White House's recent decision to not schedule the State of the Union speech opposite the "Lost" season premiere. When it appeared that President Obama was mulling that idea -- which would've pre-empted the "Lost" premiere, life-long Democrat Lindelof suddenly expressed some doubts about his affiliation.
His first thought about the news?
"That motherf-----er," he said of the president.
Appearing at TCA Tuesday along with series talent including Josh Holloway (who plays Sawyer on “Lost”), Evangeline Lilly (Kate), Terry O’Quinn (“Locke”), Michael Emerson (“Ben”) and Jorge Garcia (“Hurley”), Lindelof and Cuse were customarily coy about the “Lost” endgame will unfold.
“Since we’ve given you nothing over the last 45 minutes, we can tell you that fan favorite Libby, actress Cynthia Watros, will be back this season,” said Lindelof, throwing TV writers a bone after a full panel during which little if any news about the show was exposed.
Asked towards the end of the event if they’re looking forward to a “Lost” convention circuit that might burgeon decades down the line -- a la “Star Trek” -- the cast and crew largely blanched, save for star Holloway
“I’m retiring,” he quipped. “I’m only doing conventions.”