2004 was probably a year television changed slightly. After it was evident that heavily serialized genre shows wouldn’t really work on broadcast networks, ABC went ahead in making television history with LOST. Not as much as during the first season than the second season, but in a way, LOST created its own history after the show quickly established itself as a ratings crusher. Not only did the show start off with great numbers, it actually stayed great. Granted, ABC might have had the usual worries, after the numbers slightly dwindled down in weeks two and three, but it speaks for the show that the numbers only went down by less than one ratings point (while the down-trend is usually higher than just a little more than half a ratings point) and a little more than 2 million viewers. And when LOST picked up again, and even went towards an 8+ rating in the beginning of 2005, it was clear that LOST is a major success. You can count the shows that delivered these kind of ratings climbs on one hand.
With numbers like these, it seems surprising that the viewership numbers only changed within a radius of around five million viewers. And again, it speaks for the success and quality of the show that LOST only danced around 16.5 (low point, episode 3) and 21.6 million viewers (high point, episode 12). Obviously the hype with the audience was strong, to give the show a season high right at the start of 2005.