Network Monkeys Do Good

This will hurt my credibility as a Lost fan, but I haven’t been a fan of the show since the beginning.

I started watching in the summer of ’05- before the second season, when djl made me a dvd of the first season. The reason I didn’t watch from the beginning was because I thought Lost would just be an updated version of Gilligan’s Island.

Well, according to a new article in Chicago Magazine, that’s almost what it was.

To summarize the article, in the summer of ’03, the real Lloyd Braun (head of the ABC network, not the aide to David Dinkins, gum middleman and computer salesman) came up with an idea about a show that was basically “Cast Away: the Series.” The show ended up in the hands of Aaron Spelling’s production company, where it was given to a writer named Jeffrey Leiber.

Lieber imagined something like Lord of the Flies—a “realistic show about a society putting itself back together after a catastrophe.” In roughly a week’s time, he concocted a general story line centered on what happens to a few dozen plane-crash survivors when they are stuck on a far-off Pacific island. The show, as Lieber saw it, would focus heavily on eight to ten main characters.

To give you more of an idea what the show involved, from a documentary on the Lost S1 DVD:

And in the initial pilot script, the time period, in the pilot alone, went over like six weeks or something. So, kind of by the end of the pilot, they were already like coconut-bowling and living in hutches and that kind of thing.

The show went through development, but Lloyd (Serenity Now!) Braun didn’t like the angle the show was taking.

Braun decided to give the project J. J. Abrams … [and Damon Lindelof] came back with a far-out idea to get around the show’s limitations: What if the island were a character—a supernatural place where strange things happened? Braun loved it.

And things took off from there. The Chicago Magazine article explains that Leiber still receives royalties from ‘creating’ the original script. And after the expensive pilot was filmed, Braun was fired from his post at ABC.

But at least the show wasn’t about cast aways going cocount bowling.

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