Producers of "Lost," including Carlton Cuse, left, Damon Lindelof, holding the statuette, Jack Bender and Jean Higgins accepted the award for outstanding drama series at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards Sunday.

‘Lost’ in
the moment

The creative team exults at six Emmy awards
and gives Hawaii much credit for its success


Second season premiere:

On TV: 8 tonight

Channel: KITV/ABC

It's about 3 a.m. Monday and four very happy men in tuxedoes sit at a remote table at Mel's Drive-In on Hollywood's Sunset Strip, munching cheeseburgers. Stacked alongside the ketchup and mustard are four golden statues, the Holy Grail of television: Emmys.

"It was a real moment of utter and complete shock," producer Carlton Cuse says of the moment it was announced that "Lost" had won the Emmy for Best Drama Series. "Everything went into slow motion then I turned to my wife and she said, 'You won!' When it came out of her mouth, I realized that it actually had happened."

Damon Lindelof, co-creator/executive producer (the show has 11 producers and writers), said "shock is the operative word" when a first-year drama takes the Best Drama Emmy and five other awards.

He remembers a "big, massive hug fest," but little of what happened next.

"I said something to the audience but I don't remember. I always felt that when people got up on the stage and said how surprised they were by their win, it was bogus. Now that I've experienced it, I will never say that again."

Later Monday they were all back at work; Matthew Fox headed east for an appearance on "Oprah," while producers Jack Bender and Jean Higgins and the rest of the cast were traveling back to Honolulu.

Lindelof, Cuse and J.J. Abrams -- who won a personal Emmy for directing the pilot episode -- gave much credit to Hawaii, which they call "a character in the show."

"Hawaii is an essential ingredient that makes the shows special," Cuse said. "It would be extremely hard to film somewhere else. We hope we never have to move."

What's in that infernal hatch? Find out tonight.

Lindelof is still trying to decipher what the award means. "What we do recognize is that it validates the kind of storytelling we're trying to do and it also rewards the audience for their intelligence. This Emmy says there's a different model for a successful TV show right now; a serialized model which has elements of suspense and mystery, genre with many, many characters to track."

The show begins its second season tonight, and Lindelof and Cuse acknowledge the pressure to maintain the pace.

"We're challenging ourselves to do ambitious storytelling and filter out any thoughts about awards or it becomes very hard to do your best creative work," Lindelof said. "We are committed to push the envelope ... and hope the audience takes that leap of faith with us. We know what our destination is and nothing will empirically change our decisions."

The Emmy is even more stunning because the show's concept had been criticized. "We all looked at the pilot and said what is this crazy thing about a plane crash, a monster in the jungle, 14 people, all different?" Lindelof said. "This is not a TV show, but somehow it works, which is what's so liberating about this. It's not our job to figure out how or why it works; it's our job just to write a really cool episode every eight days."

But why were there no acting awards for a show named best in its class?

"The voters and audience perception is that the show is a collective unit," Lindelof said. "There is no one person."

Cuse said one of the "beauties and frustrating aspect" is the talent of its cast. "It's hard for anyone to supersede the others," he said. "These actors are in service to the story and the narrative of the show."

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