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'Lost' finale cops 13.5 million viewers; not a record

An average of 13.5 million people watched the series finale of "Lost" Sunday night from 9-11:30 p.m. in hopes of finding out what their six-season investment was all about.


Josh Holloway, Evangeline Lilly and Emilie de Ravin on "Lost." (ABC/Mario Perez)

(Apparently either everyone on the island was actually dead all along -- ooh, didn't see that one coming, having never watched "The Sixth Sense," the old "The Twilight Zone" series, etc. Or, they were in a sort of limbo/purgatory and have now died happily ever after -- or they're pitching their next show to Jimmy Kimmel. The debate is getting pretty heated today at our office.)

Meanwhile, an average of 9.3 million people watched Bret Michaels rise from death's doorstep to win "Celebrity Apprentice" - also Sunday night. Michaels suffered a brain hemorrhage in April and was hospitalized again last week after suffering what doctors called a "warning stroke."

The "Lost" very last episode is far from a record, though it is the show's biggest audience since February of 2008.

Back in September of 2004 an impressive 18.6 million tuned in to watch the show's very first episode. That first season finale clocked an impressive 20.7 million viewers and the first two episodes of the second season both broke 23 million.

On the other hand, it's a darned sight better than the show had been doing of late. Last season's finale, for example, only attracted 9.4 million viewers. This season, as the end drew near, more viewers had been coming back to the show and it was averaging about 11.5 million people.

You're going to see press reports saying 20.5 million people watched the finale. That is the number of people who watched as little as 6 minutes of the 2.5 hour series swan song. That number is hooey -- unless you're an advertiser, because it is presumed that anyone who watched 6 minutes of any show probably saw an ad break.

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More on "Lost":
Photo gallery: The end of "Lost" | Celebritology: Dueling analysis, Another "Lost" theory | Your finale predictions | Chat transcript: Discuss the finale | "Lost" Central

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 24, 2010; 12:08 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Comments

Nothing yet about tonight's finale of "24"?

Posted by: acoberst1 | May 24, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Actually, anyone who tuned in for more than two minutes saw an ad break. That was obviously why they really needed the extra 1/2 hour.

Posted by: kbockl | May 24, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

the ultimate LOST finale parody, http://tinyurl.com/2evzgmy

Posted by: ncljohnson | May 24, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

If you really think that they were dead all along...wow. Just wow. Not even close. WAY over your head.

I might try some easier watching if I were you. Perhaps Two and a Half Men? Or Jay Leno? That seems like it might be more your style...

Posted by: dkgeroe | May 24, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

They weren't all dead the whole time. Plus then you try to sound cool by making fun of what didn't happen.

Lisa De Moron-es = Fail

Posted by: beamertdog | May 24, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Lisa has just lost my respect, as well as her integrity as a journalist in my opinion. It's obvious that she knows very little about LOST, and if you know little to nothing about the subject, what gives you the right to write about it? I suggest she does some research on the topics she writes about without being biased, or else lose all credibility, which is exactly what she has done in my eyes. Goodbye to reading the Washington Post.

Posted by: hendrixderosas | May 24, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"Apparently either everyone on the island was actually dead all along -- ooh, didn't see that one coming, having never watched "The Sixth Sense," the old "The Twilight Zone" series, etc. Or, they were in a sort of limbo/purgatory and have now died happily ever after"

WOW. Did you even watch the finale? The show demands and has always demanded its viewers to pay attention to detail. The final speech by Jack's father reveals that everything on the island had been real and actually took place. All of the characters died at different times (Boone, season 1; Shannon, season 2; Jack, lying on his back in the bamboo grove as he saw Miles, Kate, Sawyer, etc flying away from the island to die perhaps much later; Hurley and Ben, much later after their stint (100's of years perhaps) as island protectors). Again, go back, watch the finale and pay attention this time. Yes, the "flash-sideways" we've been watching this season was a holding place until most of the main characters were ready to "move on". But you know what really annoys me about you're article is that you are SO sarcastic and cutting toward a show that *consistently* has provided a high level of acting and writing. It was mainly about the characters, NOT the mythology. With it's flashbacks, it was a show that actually gave some depth to its characters. It was more about the journey than the ending. If the ending did fall short (which for me, it didn't) it doesn't matter; the show has sparked my imagination weekly and entertained me more than any show in recent memory.

Posted by: ashenpuddle | May 24, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I have now seen several of these reviews saying everyone on the island was dead all along - this simply is not true - but is a way of distinguishing writers who know Lost and those who don't know what they are talking about. Read the blogs or reviews from the avid viewers who are also journalists - then you will find the real answers to what happened. To simply state matter of factly with a know it all attitide that they were dead all along is such an injustice to a show that was so complex and intricate in both its story telling and depth of characters that it totally misses everything wonderful about this show - not to mention is just flat not true. The Lost finale was in my opinion the finest finale of any show I have ever seen and was profoundly moving. The magic this show brought forth was because it did not simply use a cop out like they were all dead on the island all along but rather treated us to something different from any prediction I saw on any blog - and did in a way that was so unexpected and yet satsifying that you came away with a feeling of reassurance of why we loved Lost for so long. We will miss this great show. I can't imagine another like this any time soon.

Posted by: sctp | May 24, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Ah, give her a break. She's never written anything to suggest she watches Lost. She's reporting the TV business news and adding humorous snark.

In this case her snark is wildly incorrect, but she made it pretty clear she's just repeating what she heard in the Post writer's pool.

That Liz and Jen (and maybe Paul and definitely Hank, whoever that is) got it so wrong is what's strange. But I'm willing to write that off to sleep deprivation. They've earned the right to be wildly wrong at least once.

Posted by: MeriJ | May 24, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

13.5 Million? I'm pretty sure that number is lower than the actual amount of people watching. I know lots of people having Lost parties for last night's finale. The Nielsen Ratings don't account for that, do they?

Posted by: menuka | May 24, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

If all she did was read what other Post writers wrote then I can see where she got her idea about the Post finale. At least two other Post writers online seem to be convinced the island is purgatory - despite all the evidence that it isn't. One writer here correctly things just the Flash Sideways area is a limbo, which is correct. I can see how she is confused and then her snark took over.

Posted by: nottenst | May 25, 2010 6:58 AM | Report abuse

If all she did was read what other Post writers wrote then I can see where she got her idea about the Lost finale. At least two other Post writers online seem to be convinced the island is purgatory - despite all the evidence that it isn't. One writer here correctly things just the Flash Sideways area is a limbo, which is correct. I can see how she is confused and then her snark took over.

Posted by: nottenst | May 25, 2010 6:59 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else notice how Liz and Jen got the ending completely wrong in their dueling analysis, but then changed their tune in the live discussion and acted like they were correct all along.

Posted by: buffysummers | May 25, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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