NEW YORK – The highly complex plots of ABC's cult spy-hit Alias are getting simplified.
The hope, according to ABC sources, is that more people will tune in to watch the show if it's easier to understand.
Last year, with about 9.8 million viewers, the critically acclaimed show did not achieve the massive ratings ABC desperately needs to keep the show going at the end of this season.
Part of the problem, according to industry execs, is that the show's twisty plots have been too hard to follow.
ABC officials declined to comment yesterday.
But last month, more than an hour after the Super Bowl ended, the network aired an episode of the show that took it in a new and much simpler direction.
And in the handful of episodes that have aired since then, the ratings have gone up slightly. Last week the show was seen by about 11.4 million viewers
Since it began last year, Golden Globe-winning actress Jennifer Garner has played Sydney Bristow, a double agent for the CIA and an evil spy-organization called SD-6.
Here's where it began to get confusing: most of her co-workers at SD-6 believed that they worked for the CIA. But Sydney and her father Jack Bristow both would attempt to foil SD-6 by reporting to the real CIA.
In the episode that aired after the Super Bowl, Sydney obtained enough evidence to set up a raid that shattered SD-6 for good and now allows her and her friends to work directly for the CIA.
"It's really exciting," Garner told a SCI FI wire. "We've made a kind of big change. . . Sydney's no longer a double agent. She's a CIA agent."
The move also opened up the door for Sydney and her CIA handler, Michael C. Vaughn (played by Michael Vartan) to have a romantic relationship without SD-6 discovering her connection to the CIA.
"So they have to figure out what they're going to do trust wise. And they've both been trained to lie all their lives, so what's that going to do to them?" says Garner.
It appears that some of Sydney's co-workers at SD-6 will also join the CIA as well. "All these characters who worked at SD-6 and thought they were working for the CIA and couldn't know that it wasn't the CIA, that kind of stunted all those characters," Garner says.