David Weinfeld

Exploring the Convergence of Media and Technology

“V” Countdown Clock Ruins “Lost”

During the final season of a groundbreaking television show that has cultivated a rabidly loyal audience, the network airing the series decides to obscure an entire episode, with a logo promoting another one of its shows, for the television company’s selfish gain.

Sounds crazy?

Well, it happened last night; during one of the final episodes of “Lost,” no less. Though this may appear to be the angry rant of a fanboy (I’m more of an off-an-on viewer that just wants answers to the mysteries of “Lost”), it’s really a rallying cry against companies that abuse their audience. This is a direct shot across the bow of a company which had no problem abusing its viewers’ trust. ABC plastered the “V” countdown clock, a clear attempt by ABC to draw “Lost” fans to the alien saga, for an entire hour on every viewers’ television screen. Like the drip of a a faucet, once I was aware of it, I couldn’t look past it.

ABC already runs an inordinate amount of commercials during “Lost,” attempting to suck every dollar out of the final season of one of its most successful series. I can’t fathom that television executives could think that viewers wouldn’t be offended by an intrusive countdown clock stickered on the screen during a show like “Lost” (cult following and all).  I imagine that they knew viewers would be angered by it, but chose to do it anyway because drawing viewers to “V” was more important than preserving their customers’ viewing experience. ABC did it because the network could, not because it was a good idea. Greed drove the negative action.

I’m not alone in my derision of ABC for its clear violation of viewer trust. The online backlash against ABC even includes a slam from series co-creator Damon Lindelof.

“Yes, people, I saw it too,” a clearly perturbed Lindelof wrote during the west coast broadcast of his show. “:34 minutes until I cry myself to sleep.”


“It” was a bright red “V” logo and a countdown clock that remained fixed in the lower right-hand corner of ABC’s air through virtually all of Tuesday’s “Lost.” Even during super-dramatic moments. Even when subtitles appeared (yes, the clock obscured one word of said subtitle during one scene.)


Another “Lost” writer sounded equally peeved.


“Really? The V couldn’t have at least been translucent?!?” Tweeted Adam


Bill Simmons, a regular contributor to the website for ABC sibling ESPN.com, couldn’t contain his rage.



“To the ABC exec who decided to put the V countdown clock on the bottom of the Lost screen… I hate you. Passionately,” Simmons wrote on Twitter Tuesday.


A personality from a rival conglomerate was equally upset.


Whoever made the decision to put up the ‘V’ countdown clock during ‘Lost’ should be fired, or kicked in the nuts repeatedly until he quits,” tweeted Andy Levy, a contributor to Fox New Channel’s “Redeye.”


Aaron Bleyaert, the former “Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” blogger, argued the stunt backfired.


“Hey ABC, here is a great way to make sure I never, ever, EVER watch the show ‘V’: put a giant f’ing bright red ‘V’ bug over all of ‘LOST,'” he wrote.


And, no shocker, professional TV critics were aghast.


“Well-done, ABC. Really freaking well-done,” the Newark Star-Ledger’s Alan Sepinwall wrote on his “What’s Alan Watching” blog, adding that he was “really, really, really pissed off” by the move. (via The Wrap)

For fans of “Lost” and non-fans alike, what’s you reaction?

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