Lost is a reality television show screened in the U.S. and UK in late 2001. It was a game show in a race format where teams raced around the world with few or no resources.
The premise was similar to The Amazing Race, except the three two-member teams knew only the final destination (thousands of miles away) and were given only a backpack full of clothes and other essentials. In addition, team members were not acquainted with one another prior to the show, and were assigned to teams. Contestants were blindfolded and dropped off with a single camera person in a remote location of an unknown country to find their way back to their home country.
The U.S. version of the show was produced by Conaco, a production company owned by Conan O'Brien. Sports broadcaster Al Trautwig was the narrator.
Teams were given no money until they managed to figure out what country they were in. During the first set, the teams were abandoned in Mongolia. In the second set, the teams were abandoned in Bolivia. It was revealed in the second set that there was more to the show than just getting to the destination. The contestants had to go back via a particular island, making the quest more arbitrary. The first team to reach the U.S. finish line at the Statue of Liberty in New York City would split U.S. $200,000.
With the show premiering to dismal ratings, only two of the three sets of three episodes were produced; NBC blamed the lackluster numbers on the show debuting just before the September 11, 2001 attacks. The first set debuted on September 4, 2001. The winners from the first set were announced on the final episode, airing a week later than scheduled (due to the 9/11 attacks pre-empting the airing of the second episode). While the second set was set to debut the next week, NBC put the show on hiatus. On December 23, 2001, the second set of episodes began airing on NBC in a new 7:00 p.m. ET Sunday timeslot. Although the final two episodes of the second set were initially scheduled to air in a two-hour block the following week, NBC decided to skip the second episode of the set, and only aired the final episode in a one-hour timeslot, due to the previous episode having one of the lowest ratings in the network's history.
The UK version of the show was produced for Channel 4 by Windfall Films, and shown in October 2001. In the UK the show was narrated by Mat Fraser.
Five sets of three episodes were broadcast in which teams were abandoned in Northern Russia, Mali, Venezuela, Quebec and Azerbaijan. Teams were provided at the start with three days' food and water and funds of U.S. $200 cash each (although in some of the races it was only U.S. $150, or an amount of gold and uncut diamonds roughly equivalent to £200). The UK teams had to race back to Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, except in the final race from Azerbaijan, where the destination was the Angel of the North statue in Gateshead. The first team to arrive at the destination in each race won a prize of £5,000. The winning team from each race was brought back to compete again the following week, against two new teams.
Scheduling of the program in a late night slot meant it reached only a limited audience. The UK version was repeated on a cable channel a few months after the first showing.