ABC Hit Series Gets Spinoff Title That Adds to Show's Plot

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- ABC has kept its hit drama Lost as pure as it gets as far as product placement is concerned, but one Disney-controlled integration is about to further muddle the waters surrounding the mystifying show.

Hyperion Books, a Walt Disney Co. publishing unit, is making the most of corporate synergy by putting out a book based on a Lost plot twist. Next spring, fans of the No. 3 show among 18- to 49-year-olds will follow the travails of a new character, Gary Troup, who delivers a book titled Bad Twin to the Hyperion offices before boarding the doomed Oceanic Air flight that maroons the characters of Lost on a mysterious Pacific island.

'Mystery writer'
Bad Twin is described as a mystery about a wealthy heir looking for an evil sibling. It will be written by an “unnamed mystery writer” in concert with the show's script writers, J.J. Abrams -- who also created Alias for the network -- and Damon Lindelof. The identity of the book's "author" will no doubt give Lost fans grist for their blogs for weeks to come.

So far season-to-date, Lost has attracted 11 million viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic, falling behind only network sibling Desperate Housewives and CBS's CSI. The book is expected to do well because it may contain clues about what happens in subsequent episodes.

Brand-name rarity
Fans of the series are known to debate plot minutiae, such as why candy bars found in a mysterious hatch on the island are named Apollo. Unlike other hit TV dramas, brand-name mentions have been a rarity on the show, though one early episode carried a luxury suitcase from high-end manufacturer Zero Halliburton.

An ABC publicist for Lost confirmed the news but had no further knowledge of the plot twist or the book.

Spinoffs and tie-ins
Disney has worked hard to make the most of spinoffs based on its hit shows, such as board game, soundtrack CD, a DVD of the complete first season and a book for Desperate Housewives. The show also had a tie-in with Nissan.

Lost, however, is a trickier franchise to expand given that its fans are more likely to resist such exploitation, but a book deal might be more acceptable to fans. Hyperion has also published The Lost Chronicles: Official Companion Book, written by Mark Cotta Vaz.

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