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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Channel 4 loses Lost to Sky One
Matthew Fox in Lost
Lost follows plane crash survivors who are stranded on a desert island
Sky One has snapped up the rights to the award-winning drama Lost, robbing Channel 4 of one of its biggest hits.

The show, which follows a band of air crash survivors on a desert island, is thought to have cost the channel 20m, reports trade paper Broadcast.

"We're absolutely thrilled," said Sky One's director of programmes, Richard Woolfe, who said the cult drama had been the "envy of every network".

When Lost premiered on Channel 4 in 2005, it attracted six million viewers.

However, audiences for the second series have been lower - averaging around 2.8 million, and dropping as low as 1.9 million.

Critical success

The series, made by US network ABC, has been a critical and commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic.

The first season won six Emmys and the show's creator, JJ Abrams, was hand-picked by Tom Cruise to direct Mission: Impossible 3.

Sky One's deal gives it the rights to the third and fourth series of the programme.

"We want to air the show as close to US transmission as possible, and not have anything like a nine-month delay," Mr Woolfe told Broadcast's website.

The broadcaster was not available to confirm the details of its deal with distributor Buena Vista International Television, which is part of the Disney corporation.

Channel 4 will replace Lost with the hit US comedy Ugly Betty.

The show, set in the world of fashion, is produced by actress Salma Hayek, and has become the most-watched new series of the 2006-2007 US television season.

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