LOST REVISITED….So why do episodes of Lost last 64 minutes? Or, more accurately, why do some episodes of Lost last 64 minutes? My commenters have two theories:

Theory #1: They are playing head games with your Tivo. I don’t have a Tivo and don’t quite understand what people are driving at here, but apparently the idea is that if the show doesn’t end until 10:04, then Tivo won’t pick up another show that starts at 10:00, thus screwing a competitor. I’m not sure I buy this.

Theory #2: It’s a way of gaming the ratings. Commenter mmy explains:

During sweeps periods, which May is one, special attention is paid to the first 5-10 minutes of an hour (and by extension the last 5-10 minutes of the previous hour, since that leads into the next hour). If you’re a TV executive, you want the most people watching during those times.

So a few years back NBC came up with idea of starting “ER” a few minutes early, to increase its ratings. Now popular shows regularly run a few minutes over during sweeps, and/or they promise a “shocking secret” in the first five minutes of an episode, or the last five minutes.

There were several variations on this theme, all of which revolved around the idea of keeping viewers glued to their sets for a few minutes of the following hour, thus making it less likely that they would switch the channel.

So that’s that. I guess calling somebody and asking could clear this up for sure, but that seems like an awful lot of work, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: On the other hand, here’s a strong vote for the “Tivo blowback” theory. It still sounds kind of squirrely to me, but who knows? I’ve heard weirder stuff than this.