ABC’s final season of Lost will finally give devoted, obsessed viewers the closure they need.
But as Lost ends (the first episode of the last season airs Feb. 2), so does the trend for serialized, “can’t-miss-an-episode” shows, which are hemorrhaging audiences and failing to make big bucks in syndication deals.
More shows will have less confusing plotlines and end individual episodes in convenient little bows. Get ready for lots more CSI.
ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy may have sold to Lifetime for $1.2 million per episode, but Lost and Heroes both went for well under $500,000 per episode. By contrast, last year The Mentalist and freshman procedural NCIS: Los Angeles both sold for more than $2 million an episode, the latter after just a handful of airings on CBS. The top-rated off-network weekly series are crime procedurals—CSI: NY, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, CSI: Miami, Bones and House.
“I think we’re seeing the decline of these shows,” says Chuck Larsen, president of distribution consulting firm October Moon Television, of serialized dramas. “The networks were kind of slow to realise that serialized shows just don’t repeat well.” But they appear to realise it now, including with their current series.
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