Exactly two years after Lost bowed out with one of the most talked-about finales in TV history, the series’ co-creator/co-showrunner Damon Lindelof is returning to the TV island after treading feature waters for the past two years. Lindelof is finalizing a rich three-year overall deal with Warner Bros. TV, which also is the TV home of Lindelof’s mentor-turned-frequent collaborator, Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams.
While he will consider developing projects with other writers down the road, “at this point I still look at myself as a writer,” Lindelof said. “This (deal) is about me creating my next show.” As for what that show would be, he would like to do a broadcast series again, and he definitely wants to try his hand in the cable arena. In terms of genres, after working on several back-to-back sci-fi features, most recently Prometheus and Abrams’ Star Trek sequel, “I think certainly film-wise, I’m spaced out, I think I’ve got the robot-spaceship future bug out of my system.” On the TV side, “I probably won’t be the guy who creates the next Mad Men or Breaking Bad, though I love both of these shows,” he said. “What I love about television is character-based storytelling, and I want to continue to explore fantastical way of doing it where characters live in a world that is a little skewed.” But don’t expect a new Lost from him. “I won’t be the one that would come up with the next Lost,” Lindelof said, adding that he has no interest in doing more shows with “wackadoo mythology.”
Lindelof started thinking about returning to television last year, about a year after Lost ended. “Movie life is nice and different, but l missed the energy and excitement of doing series television,” he said. At the time, he felt he didn’t have “stories to tell,” so he tabled the idea but revisited it this spring. Through Abrams, who moved to Warner Bros. TV in 2006, Lindelof had gotten to know WBTV president Peter Roth who had extended an open invitation to him to join the studio while he was still on Lost. The studio received a rave recommendation from Abrams who told Lindelof he was “the happiest he has ever been” at WBTV. “Based on my relationship with Peter, I felt a tremendous amount of camaraderie and safety there,” Lindelof said. Still, because of his strong ties with ABC and ABC Studios through Lost, when he became serious about pursuing a TV deal, Lindelof first sat down with executives from ABC Studios, including EVP Barry Jossen, whom Lindelof considers a personal friend. But, despite his “wonderful relationship” at ABC, “it was important that I would be able to sell to any network, and I wanted to be able to do cable series, and, based on their business model, I felt it would be enormously challenging for them to do that.”
With Prometheus hitting the screen and the Star Trek sequel wrapped, Lindelof, repped by CAA and attorney Bob Myman, is close to clearing his film plate. He is about to deliver his script 1952 to Disney, and if it gets greenlit, Lindelof will produce it while working on his development for WBTV. After that, it will be all television for the remainder of his WBTV deal. “I’m ready to come back to TV full-time,” he said.