Lost (not to be confused with the 2004–2010 ABC drama series of the same name) was a short-lived knockoff of The Amazing Race where six strangers would race to reach New York City, NY after being stranded in a remote spot. It was based on a British format of the same name.
Similar to that of The Amazing Race, except the three two-member teams knew only the final destination (thousand 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.
In the U.S. version, 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 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, NY would split $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 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 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 time slot. 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 air the final episode in a one-hour time slot, due to the previous episode having one of the lowest ratings in the network's history.
The series was produced by Conaco, a production company owned by late-night talk show personality Conan O'Brien.
The series debuted the same night as The Amazing Race on CBS.
The original British version of the show aired on Channel 4 on October 1, 2001.
Host Al Trautwig is also the play-by-play announcer for NBC's coverage of gymnastics competitions, alongside professional athletes Tim Daggett, Elfi Schlegel, John Roethlisberger and Nastia Liukin.