- ABC has struggled to find the right companion show to air after it. An argument can be made that there is no compatible show, because "Lost" is both so intense and so complicated that the fans need to decompress and start analyzing when it's over. Unless a huge percentage of the fans stick around at 10, the lead-out is considered a failure. But a much smaller number needs to stick around to boost the affiliates' 11 o'clock newscasts into successful territory.
- "Criminal Minds" has been building, and while I don't think the shows' audiences overlap that much, there's always the chance that the Super Bowl exposure could push it over "Lost" in demos as well as viewers, which is bad for both ABC's image and bottom line.
- The "Lost" viewership decline began when "American Idol" came back at mid-season. (Season one aired at 8, so "Idol" was only briefly an issue during the audition episodes.) The people who gave up on "Lost" to watch "Idol" didn't come back in the fall. At its current numbers, "Lost" is still a success for ABC even at its current budget, but how many more viewers can they afford to lose to "Idol" this time?
Since I don't watch "CSI:NY" or "Medium," I don't mind following "Lost" to 10 (assuming I want to keep continuing after the first few February episodes). I just feel bad for "Knights of Prosperity," which was likely going to be doomed no matter what (bad title, hard concept to explain, very quirky) but now has zero shot opposite Simon, Randy and Pauler (plus Mandy and Howie Mandel).
Been a bad season for ABC comedy altogether. "Big Day" and "Help Me Help You" are tanking on Tuesdays. (And am I nuts, or did "Big Day" skip an episode? When they sent me "The World According to Garf," I just assumed the bit about the photographer being run over meant that ABC hadn't sent me consecutive episodes, but apparently not.) "Notes from the Underbelly" probably won't air until summer, if at all, and I'm hard-pressed to find a scenario that has "Knights" and "In Case of Emergency" doing any kind of business.