The bad news: There will be a 13-week gap between the show's first run of episodes in the fall and the unbroken 15- or 16-episode string to close the 2006-07 season.
Into that long break will go "Day Break," a new drama series that stars Taye Diggs as an L.A. detective who's being framed for murder and keeps reliving the same day, "Groundhog Day"-style, while trying to prove his innocence.
ABC Entertainment chief Steve McPherson said at May's upfronts that he was looking at ways to schedule "Lost" without repeats in the coming season, and he reiterated his commitment to the idea Tuesday at the Television Critics Association press tour.
"We really listened to the audience," which was frustrated with the show's on-off-on scheduling late last season, McPherson says. He said that if it were possible to run the entire season straight through beginning in October, he would, but the show's production schedule won't allow it.
McPherson also didn't want to hold "Lost" until midseason because he wants to use it to help launch "The Nine," a highly touted new drama that will occupy the 10 p.m. Wednesday timeslot this season.
The compromise, then, is an initial run of six or seven episodes in the fall (the season premiere is scheduled for Oct. 4). "Day Break" will then take over the 9 p.m. Wednesday slot for 13 weeks (it's set to premiere Nov. 15), with "Lost" returning after that.
The "Lost" writers are aware of the scheduling and will tailor story arcs to fit the two blocks of episodes, McPherson says. He also hopes to keep viewers engaged with some off-screen content along the lines of the "Lost Experience" game that web users worldwide are currently playing.