Thanks to a devoted fan base, the return of ABC’s “Lost” is already one of the most anticipated moments of the 2007-08 primetime. But events may well conspire to make the fourth season of the show an actual blockbuster.

ABC’s serial thriller is set to return to the Alphabet in early February under terms of the deal cut last May that called for the series to wrap up in 2010 after three more seasons of 16 segs apiece.

ABC’s desire to run the 16 episodes over consecutive weeks without repeats — to keep the show’s dramatic momentum going a la Fox’s “24” — dictated that fans would have to wait with bated breath for the show to bow in February rather than during the traditional fall rollout.

Now, with the threat of a writers strike becoming a more distinct possibility, “Lost” may wind up being one of the net’s precious few fresh scripted offerings in the season’s second half.

Because of the late premiere date, “Lost” scribes have gotten a major headstart on the writing for this season’s 16 scripts, and as of October they’re understood to have completed production on at least seven segs.

Interestingly, “Lost” exec producer Carlton Cuse is one of the 17 members of the Writers Guild’s contract negotiating committee, though no one is conspiratorial enough to suggest he could have plotted it this way all along.

But it’s probably not a coincidence that at a time when compensating writers for their work in the digital realm is one of the points of major contention between WGA and the AMPTP, “Lost” is the only TV production show to come to terms with the WGA, DGA and SAG on production of the “Lost Video Diaries” designed for mobile phones and Web plays.