ABC’s Lost was originally pitched as “all the things you DON’T see on Survivor”

Survivor was part of the inspiration for ABC’s drama Lost, and a reference to the CBS reality competition–and reality TV in general–both appear in an early document that has made its way to the Internet.

The 27 page document [PDF] was produced to prove to ABC that this was more than Survivor, though it acknowledges what it borrowed from reality TV: “At the end of the day, LOST will sink or swim purely on the merit of its characters … and taking a page from the successful playbook of Reality Television, we’ve stocked our island with the ingredients for limitless conflict. No conflict, no drama.”

It says Lost will contain “all the things you DON’T see on Survivor: Murder. A blood transfusion. A love affair. A trial. All playing out far from civilization.”

The document also says hilarious things that in no way reflect the reality of the show that eventually aired, such as, “the ‘paranormal’ will always be coupled with a logical explanation to remind the audience that this is the real world”; “Self contained. Seriously. We promise”; and “there is no ‘Ultimate Mystery’ which requires solving.”

Of course, Lost went on to pile on a lot of unnecessary, pointlessly complicated and totally bullshit until it completely unrecognizable from its amazing early seasons, obscuring its strengths and wrecking the goodwill it had built. Hmm, that sounds familiar.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.