ABC says this is the final season of "Lost" -- and from all the plain-speaking marketing, that's what we are led to believe.
Yet, just about the time of the critics tour, there was inside talk that said Disney/ABC was thinking about "Lost" the same way Paramount thinks about "Star Trek," or how Warner Bros. thinks about "Sex in the City," or maybe even how someone will feel about "The Sopranos."
Whether it's good or bad, fans have a hankering for what's familiar. Business guys can't help themselves. They start using the word "franchise," and unfortunately, any shred of the word "art" disappears from the lexicon.
Conan said goodbye. But we know he didn't mean it. Jay did too - now twice fired, actually. Yet he lives again.
Brett Favre has talked final seasons for, well... a number of seasons. How many "finales" can any TV show, film, or entertainment property really have?
As many as consumers want, apparently. TV viewers/film-goers get pulled into this whirlpool - willingly.
Some entertainment departs because producers -- who have already made tens of millions of dollars -- now want to put it to rest, and move on to other things. It's an artistic, not usually a business decision.
Then, of course, plans for a new modern-day family law series based on "King Lear" doesn't work out. So they'll reconsider their wildly successful and trite family drama headed up by that crazy sportswriter matriarch.
What will future finales be like? I'm guessing in the year 2020, look for "Heroes" on Syfy, or "Desperate Housewives" on Lifetime. We've already had a taste of this -- a "Seinfeld" reunion on HBO, through the lens of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
In the world of TV, stuff hangs on like lint: You've picked everything off carefully while dressing, only to find some hanging from your sock during a big business meeting.