Obama's State of the Union won't preempt season premiere of 'Lost' after all

By Lisa de Moraes
Saturday, January 9, 2010

The president of the United States apparently feels he needs the "Lost" voting bloc and therefore will not schedule his State of the Union address the same night that ABC had planned to air the two-hour season debut of the second-most-convoluted drama series in the history of TV.

"I don't foresee a scenario in which millions of people who hope to finally get some conclusion with 'Lost' are preempted by the president," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at Friday's White House press briefing.

"You can quote a senior administration official," he added.

This, in response to not one, not two, but three questions about the brewing Obama/"Lost" faceoff that were asked at the briefing by various reporters in the employ of ABC who apparently lack the gene for "embarrassed."

"Lost" fanatics had their undies in a bunch Wednesday over news that the White House might push back the president's SOTU address to Feb. 2 to enable Obama to use a freshly signed health-care reform law as an audiovisual aid.

Unless you've been living under a flat rock, you've seen ABC hammering home the point recently that Feb. 2 is the day that the intensely weird drama series returns for its sixth and final (thank you, God) season and that all of our many pressing questions from last season's finale would finally be answered.

(Yes, "Twin Peaks" remains the most-convoluted TV series -- not coincidentally, it also aired on ABC -- though the "Lost" writers still have one more season to catch up, and we have enormous confidence in their ability to gum up the story line in ways the "Twin Peaks" gang didn't even dare to dream.)

Gibbs's aforementioned gag was in response to a question asked by ABC Radio reporter Ann Compton. Later, another ABC reporter asked whether the Feb. 2 SOTU idea was really most sincerely dead. Gibbs said yes, adding that he "loves that all of a sudden ABC is asking [questions] on behalf of ABC."

"How about on behalf of the Dharma Initiative?" ABC's White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, cracked -- no doubt convulsing "Lost"-ies in laughter. As for the rest of you -- keep your eye on the prize: Your long nightmare will soon be over.

Traditionally, the president delivers his SOTU address in late January. Its usual time slot: 9 to 11 p.m.

"Lost" producers immediately took to their Twitter accounts and were characteristically humble about the scheduling victory.

"OBAMA BACKED DOWN!!!! Groundhog Day is OURS!!!!!!!," Damon Lindelof tweeted when news of Gibbs's comments got out.

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