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Lost’s Final Season Episode Order Increased to 18

By nato64,

  Filed under: Lost News
  Comments: 14

Good news everyone! Ain’t It Cool News is reporting that ABC is ordering 18 episodes for Season 6, up from 17.


As you may recall, the final 3 seasons of Lost were originally scheduled to run 16 episodes each. Although, the actual number of hours is unknown since Season 4 of Lost, which had 13 episodes, ended up making 14 hours of television due to the 2 hour season finale. The writer’s strike forced Season 4 to be cut down to 13 episodes/14 hours, so the agreement became that the two missing hours would be attached to the remaining seasons, making Season 5 and Season 6 17 episodes each.

The news that ABC wants 18 episodes of Season 6 is good news to us fans. We get another hour of our favorite TV show. On the other hand, the story was reported somewhat ambiguous as to which direction the request to increase the episode order came from. While in traditional television, it’s somewhat unheard of that showrunners negotiate the number of episodes/seasons to make. The studio funds the pilot, orders the Back 9, and then the rest of the season. So normally, my gut would tell me that ABC just wants to milk the final season of Lost for more money in ad revenue.

However, Lost is no traditional show and neither has been it’s television-making process. We all know that Darlton are more than comfortable negotiating episodes and seasons with ABC. They did so with the final 3 season agreement. So instead of ABC just wanting to market the heck out of Lost’s grand finale, I’m thinking Damon and Carlton went to ABC and said, “We need another hour.” They did it with the Season 4 finale, which was supposed to be one hour and they stretched it to two.

I recall near the end of Season 3, when the show-endgame agreement came about, a podcast where Damon and Carlton discussed how they always imagined Lost only having 5 22-episode seasons. However, ABC wanted at least 3 more seasons. Thus, the final 3 16-episode season agreement came about.

Now, if you go off that comment and apply what we know story-wise of the end of Season 5, if they imagined only 2 remaining seasons, when do you think the atomic bomb was meant to go off? That seems pretty big to me, so I’d imagine that was the Hypothetical Season 4 finale, right in the middle of what they imagined were the 2 remaining seasons. Thus, all the events after the atomic blast, in the hypothetical Season 5, were planned to take place in 22 episodes, the standard television episode number. So they were facing the same story to tell but in 5 less episodes than originally planned.

Where am I going with all this? My point is that I’m leaning towards the theory that Damon and Carlton went to ABC to ask for an extra episode in Season 6 to tell the story with the proper breadth they want it to have. Why did I go through all the trouble to point out what is easily assumed? Well, it’s the off-season and I don’t have anything else to speculate about.

From TVFrenzy:

  • Tim

    The “18 episodes,” is that actual episodes or 18 Hours? I heard they were bumping it up to 18 HOURS, so there’d actually be 16 episodes, but with a 2-Hour season premier and a 2-Hour season finale.

    Either way, awesome news.

    • Ellette

      I dont think that they should take LOST off air. I hope they change their minds about it.

  • I’m pretty sure TV speak now is in hours, because that’s how they decided on ads. So, it will be 18 hours, with a 2 hour premiere/2 hour finale. Whether or not that’s 18 episodes depends on the writers.

    I agree with post though, I think Darlton asked for this. They are probably almost done, if not done, mapping Season 6. With Comic-Con coming up, they’re usually even writing episodes by that time. As far as the original 5 season plan, I think it’s hard to even talk about it. So much of Season 3 was self-admitted stalling, so we’d have to go that far back to determine how things were “supposed” to be. I think no matter what the bomb blows up at the end of the penultimate season, and the final season would be similar to what we’ll see next year.

  • grasspike

    I bet they felt they needed more time to resolve what Jughead/Juliet/the incident did or did not at the end of last season before they transition the results of that into the new season with the new story.

    Since this is being announced so early in the process if the writers were behind it, it must be because they wanted/needed more time early on before they switch over to the end game of the series.

    • grasspike

      now if we could just get them to show 8 hours this fall and then 10 this spring I would be a happy man

  • Bo

    I think that had we seen the 5 Seasons, Season 4 would have ended with the “return/ressurection” of Locke and the 06 getting back. But thats just my speculative thoughts.

  • CorrosionX

    “Thus, the final 3 16-episode season agreement came about.”

    MMmm…. the 3-16 agreement, eh?

    • Jack’s Sidekick

      I was about to say the same damn thing…

  • Uncle Beaver

    When you said “Damon and Carlton discussed how they always imagined Lost only having 5 22-episode seasons”, I think they meant that this was how they imagined it from THE BEGINNING. But, because they did not see an end in sight, they “dragged their feet” on the first three seasons, thus creating MORE episodes than they would have WISHED for.

    I’m sure when the series is done, Lindeloff and Cuse will map out what their intentions were, and how the series might have turned out, if done EXACTLY the way they imagined.

    As far as the producers claiming they’ve had a plan all along… I don’t buy it. It seems to me (after re-re-watching the first season AGAIN !), they came up with the direction the show is heading, towards the end of that first season. Not from the VERY beginning.

  • Richard Head

    I figured they would be asking for more episodes this year like The Sopranos did for their final year. They announced they needed another hour 2 or 3 times while they were producing the final season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lost winds up being 20 hours this year before its over with. They will say its to wrap up some loose ends but its probably to milk some more money out of it.

  • If there had been five standard seasons, season 4 would have ended with the return to the island, so that could have worked.

    DocArzt wrote: “The studio funds the pilot, orders the Back 9, and then the rest of the season.”

    Actually, the pilot is made, then the show is given an initial thirteen episode order (counting the pilot as one) if the studio like it, then a back nine round out the twenty-two episodes if the ratings are good.

  • *likes, not like

  • Jack Daniels

    The whole numbering of episodes thing is always a mystery. For starters, seasons of most shows tend to go for longer than 22 episodes with most shows extending to 23, 24 or 25 episodes a season, not just “24” the Show. Soap shows such as “90210” and “Melrose Place” had around thirty episodes a season and then you’ve got HBO and Showtime programs were the standard run is 12 or 13 episodes a season, sometimes even as little as eight. In the U.K the standard number of episodes for a season is six. I think on Lost episodes are counted per hour. During season 5 Lost celebrated it’s 100th episode with “The Variable” which would mean that the finales are counted a singular parts meaning #100 was “The Variable”, #101 was “Follow the Leader”, #102 was “The Incident, Part 1” & #103 was “The Incident, Part 2”. This means that with the ‘extra’ 18th hour Lost will conclude with 121 episodes overall. They should have three ‘extra’ hours to make it 123 episodes overall. You know, 23… whatever!!

  • Jack Daniels

    “They will say its to wrap up some loose ends but its probably to milk some more money out of it”.

    I think it’s going to be a bit of both. Personally, I hope there are as many as 24 or 25 episodes, although we all know that will never happen. The fans of the show have been made to suffer, I believe, when ABC pushed for extending the show from two more seasons after season 3 to three more seasons. The stupid, 8 month long hiatuses, then there was season 4, writer’s strike or no writer’s strike it just felt rushed and too short. I think it would have felt more complete as a 22-24 episode season culminating with the Oceanic 6 returning to the island. And, there’s still another six months until the the premiere of the final season. Like the heading to that article ‘Still care about ABC’s Lost?’ Come January, I may not.