"Lost" Finds Its Calling
by Gina Serpe
Nov 17, 2005, 9:00 AM PT
Lost has already made its mark on the small screen. Now it's heading to the really small screen.
The Emmy-winning series is launching its first spinoff, Lost Video Diaries, to play exclusively on mobile phones beginning early next year, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Producers will shoot roughly 20 mobisodes--mobile phone episodes, that is--in all, with each one just several minutes long.
The miniseries will introduce two new characters who have been stranded on Mystery Island alongside the regular cast, with prime-time episodes informing the duo's weekly story lines. (Per the body count at the Sledgeweb Lost fansite, there are 46 adults left from the plane crash, plus Claire's baby, but only 17 of them get significant face time, leaving plenty of room for newbies.)
Production on the mobisodes kicks off in Hawaii next month, though under different supervision than the ABC show.
Executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse will solely oversee the Lost Video Diaries, with regular series producers ABC and Touchstone Television not involved.
There's no word yet on which carrier will nab the exclusive rights to the phone series, though Verizon's VCast is the current front-runner on the soon-to-be-completed deal, due to an ongoing relationship with Disney, which owns ABC.
Should the Lost Video Diaries find their home with Verizon, it's unclear whether the episodes would be covered in the $15 per month VCast content subscription or if they would fall under the category of "premium content" and be priced at 99 cents a pop.
It's also likely that the mobispodes would become available for iPods after the show's exclusivity deal with a mobile phone service expires. Regular episodes can already be downloaded from the iTunes Music Store for 99 cents. (Apple announced this week that Lost is the most popular of all programs available on the iTunes Music Store.)
But Lost isn't the first show to make the move to mobile phones.
Last year, Fox's 24 partnered with Vodafone and spun off its own cell series, 24: Conspiracy.
Twenty four 60-second episodes were produced and made available for download last spring through Verizon's VCast service. Unlike the new Lost series, however, the story line in 24: Conspiracy was thematically similar to its Kiefer Sutherland-manned counterpart, but not derived from it.
The new cell phone series isn't the only side project Lost producers have up their sleeves.
Earlier this month, ABC announced plans to introduce a subplot to the show about a character named Gary Troup, a fictitious author who died in the crash of Oceanic Flight 815, but not before he dropped off a manuscript with his publisher.
ABC teamed with Hyperion Books to publish the supposed manuscript, titled Bad Twin, which will be written by a name-brand author with guidance from show writers.
The mystery book focuses on a rich heir's search for his devious sibling, and hits stores this spring.