Leaked "Lost" episode spurs surprising fan reaction

Mon Feb 1, 2010 9:59pm EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The first hour of the final season of ABC's "Lost" has leaked online, and the reaction is not what industry insiders expected.

Though preview content for heavily serialized dramas such as "Lost" are typically and frantically consumed online by fans, the sixth season of the ABC hit has managed to build such an epic level of anticipation that many fans are doing the unthinkable: refusing to watch the leaks.

When the opening scene from the premiere popped up online after a fan promotion Friday, users of one popular social network site voted to "bury" the video.

"Why spoil it now?" wrote one fan with the moniker MyWhiteNoise. "I'd rather watch it in hi-def and surround sound than ruin the surprise and watch some (low-quality) video."

To TV executives, such statements are like something from an alternative universe, the polar-bear opposite of how young, Web-savvy viewers typically respond to content. Fans usually embrace any short cut that skips the linear TV and advertiser-supported experience.

"We never had a show like 'Lost' before that had these kind of fans that love it so much that they don't want to know what happens before the premiere," said Michael Benson, co-executive vice president of marketing at ABC. "Fans feel like they own this thing, just like we do."

On Monday, fan commitment was given an even greater test when the entire premiere episode appeared on YouTube. The video was taken from hand-held cameras discretely shooting during a fan screening on Oahu. The Hawaii event itself was a revelation -- can any other TV drama rally 12,000 fans to an island in the South Pacific? Some flew in just to see the 44 minutes of video that ABC will air Tuesday night.

NOT INTERESTED   Continued...

<p>(L-R) Cast member Emilie de Ravin, co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof, executive producer Carlton Cuse, and cast members Terry O'Quinn, Michael Emerson and Jorge Garcia of the series "Lost" participate in a panel discussion about the show's final season at the Disney ABC winter 2010 Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, California, January 12, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>