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ABC's 'Lost' returns to record-low premiere ratings

January 22, 2009 | 10:34 am

Lost Months of hype and speculation couldn't prevent ABC's "Lost" from returning to its lowest season-premiere numbers ever.

Following last year's strike-shortened cycle, the two-hour Season 5 launch of the island thriller delivered an average of 11.4 million total viewers, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. In adults ages 18 to 49, "Lost" averaged a 5.0 rating, its worst season opener ever and down a big 26% compared with last year. In maybe the most troubling sign for ABC, the premiere lost viewers every half-hour it was on.

Meanwhile, Fox's "Lie to Me," the new crime procedural starring Tim Roth, looks like a dud. Thanks largely to its huge "American Idol" lead-in, the show averaged 13.2 million viewers and narrowly beat "Lost" in head-to-head competition in adults 18 to 49 (5.2 rating vs. 5.1). But the show lost 24% of that young-adult audience from the first to second half-hour, a telltale sign of viewer rejection.

As for "Idol," it was easily the night's No. 1 program, with 25.4 million total viewers (9.6/25 in adults 18 to 49).

— Scott Collins 

(Photo courtesy ABC)