Network promises 'Lost' answers

The head of ABC Entertainment says relief is on the way for fans left hanging after the season finale.

Published July 27, 2005

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The top guy, the big cheese, the power that be, knows the pain. The questions that have dogged a nation left adrift this summer will be answered.

On Sept. 21, viewers will learn what is in "the hatch."


Stephen McPherson, president of ABC Entertainment, told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer gathering on Tuesday that the creative team and the network heard the howl of complaints after the season finale of freshman hit drama Lost.

He said the finale was fun, it was full of new questions, but it was darn light on answers that could have wrapped up a strong first season full of mystery and intrigue.

In the May finale, the castaways finally got a "look" at the monster that stalked them on the strange island they've been trapped on, except that the glimpse revealed very little, sort of a smoky, shapeless thing. What is it? Viewers saw some of the stranded passengers set to sea on a raft, only to encounter a pair of Cajun pirate twins just off the coast. Who are they? One of the characters, a young boy, is abducted. Why? A weird hatch in the jungle is at last blown open. What's inside?

"Literally in the first episode, you will learn what's in the hatch," McPherson said. "And it's not just another ladder. It will change the dynamic of the show."

Viewers have been tricked by promises before in entertainment magazines and interviews with the show's creators. This time, McPherson said, he has seen the script, and the answer is there. "I do know what's in the hatch," he insisted.

Lost will air 23 episodes this season.

In contrast, McPherson said his other big new hit, Desperate Housewives, did such a good job tying up loose ends in the season finale, there isn't such pressure to reveal more hot secrets immediately.

In other news from McPherson's "state of the network" talk with reporters:

-- Summer reality hit Dancing With the Stars generated a slew of questions, especially over the victory by Kelly Monaco, who stars on ABC daytime drama General Hospital. Was the fix in for someone on the home network?

Absolutely not, McPherson said. When the show returns for a second round, probably in January, there just might be a "dance off," pairing Monaco and pro partner Alec Mazo against runners up John O'Hurley (Seinfeld) and pro Charlotte Jorgensen in a ballroom brawl for it all.

-- Alias action figure Jennifer Garner will deal with her real-life pregnancy on the screen by adopting a student to mentor, requiring Garner to deliver far less physical action than usual. But there will still be lots of girl-fighting, McPherson said.

-- McPherson stands by creepy summer reality show Brat Camp, which features lots of weeping problem children on forced marches in a boot camp setting. But he admitted that other kid-reality show, The Scholar, lacked eyeballs. Viewers didn't buy the premise, that the assembled cast of super students either had to win the scholarship offered as a prize or go on to a life of hairnet-and-nametag jobs.

-- And the network filled many needs in the past year with hit dramas. But there's still a piece of the popular pie missing, McPherson said: a procedural cop show. NBC has Law & Order, CBS has CSI. McPherson said he has spoken with procedural show guru Jerry Bruckheimer about developing a show for ABC. Maybe next season.