LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Lost” fans have spoken -- and they have been heard.
The much-anticipated, marathon finale of the desert island survivor series is being made available simultaneously or within 48 hours of its Sunday broadcast in the United States to audiences in 59 countries around the world, global distributors Walt Disney said on Thursday.
And in another coup for the final, 114th episode of the final season of the award-winning show, the Television Academy said on Thursday that it had amended its rules to make the 2-1/2 hour “Lost” finale eligible for Emmy award consideration.
“Lost”, with its time-shifting plot and large cast is one of the most expensive and ambitious series on U.S. television, and has also found armies of fans in 220 international territories.
Walt Disney said that because of demand from fans overseas it was making Sunday’s finale available internationally faster than ever before.
Viewers in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Turkey and the UK will be able to watch the (non-subtitled) finale on their local broadcast outlets at the same time as it is aired on the U.S. West Coast at 9-11.30 PT (0400-0630 GMT).
Viewers in Canada will see the broadcast at the same time as the U.S. east coast, while more than 50 other countries, including those in Australia, France and Singapore, will air the season finale from 24-48 hours after it airs in the United States, Disney said.
“‘Lost‘s’ intrinsic global appeal and enthusiastic international following have driven a demand to create innovative windowing opportunities to air the programing on earlier and more convenient platforms,” said Ben Pyne president of global distribution at Disney Media Networks.
“Lost” has won 58 awards, including a Golden Globe and an Emmy, since it debuted in 2004.
The rule change by Hollywood’s Television Academy means that the extended finale can be submitted for another shot at winning an Emmy for best prime-time drama series later this year.
Under the previous Emmy rules, the maximum episode length for submissions in that category was two hours.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Dan Whitcomb