The new director of the third "Mission: Impossible" movie got the job by making Tom Cruise (search) a fan of his TV show "Alias."

J.J. Abrams, who created the ABC spy series that stars Jennifer Garner (search), had a meeting with Cruise to discuss the upcoming "Mission: Impossible" sequel, but considered himself a long shot.

"I had a meeting with Mr. Cruise and I gave him the (first and second season) 'Alias' DVDs. He'd never seen the show, and I thought, you know, 'He'll never watch it,'" Abrams said Wednesday. "I got a call a couple of months later and he had watched every episode."

After a long search, Paramount Pictures and Cruise's production company announced this week that Abrams was their choice to direct the third installment in the "Mission: Impossible" action-adventure series, which is a remake of a popular 1960s TV show.

"'Alias' has been in some ways preparation for what that will be," Abrams said of the movie. "If it hadn't been for the DVDs, I definitely wouldn't have the job."

He made the remarks at a presentation in Hollywood for the DVD of season three of "Alias," which goes on sale Sept. 7.

The first "Mission: Impossible" movie came out in 1996 and was directed by Brian De Palma (search). John Woo directed "Mission: Impossible II."

Cruise and Abrams plan to begin shooting the movie in summer 2005, after Cruise finishes working with Steven Spielberg on a new big-screen version of H.G. Wells' Martian-invasion saga "The War of the Worlds."

Meanwhile, Abrams will finish work on the fourth season of "Alias" and the launch of his new ABC show, "Lost," about a group of plane crash survivors stranded on an island populated by mysterious animals.