As countless terrorists and corrupt government officials learned over 192 episodes, it’s impossible to keep Jack Bauer down. You can shoot him, stab him, throw him in Chinese prison or stop his heart, but he keeps on coming.
Count “cancellation” as the latest form of adversity Jack Bauer has been able to overcome.
FOX confirmed on Monday (May 13) morning that “24” will be returning in 2014 in a new form as part of FOX’s new commitment to what used to be called “miniseries,” but are now “event series” in FOX’s parlance.
The newly rebooted “24,” fittingly titled “24: Live Another Day” and still featuring Kiefer Sutherland, will premiere in May of 2014 as a 12-episode event series.
“They always had this idea of maybe someday doing a feature film and as they got into the feature film, I think they all agreed, ‘You know what? ’24’ being compressed into two hours is not ’24,'” FOX Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters on Monday. “And in talking about it over the last couple of years, they kinda got their juices flowing again. When we announced this new franchise, kinda a little light went off for Howard [Gordon] and said, ‘Wait a minute. Why are we killing ourselves trying to crack a feature when this is the perfect form?'”
Reilly explained that for Gordon and company, the event series model for “24” made sense.
“As he would design the season, the spine of the 24 episodes was really about 12 hours,” Reilly said. “Those were where the big events occurred and then there were little twists and connective tissue in-between, so he just said, ‘This is so liberating for us to kinda take what we would see as the best of the 12.’ But what we’ll be able to do is go in chronological order of the day, but then we’ll skip out. You may go, whatever, 7 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 11, 12 and 3. It’ll be dictated by the plot. Howard’s really energized over it and so are we. It came together very quickly.”
FOX’s plan is to have “24: Live Another Day” ready to premiere by May, when it will be paired with another drama series. It will then run through late summer, leading into the premiere of FOX’s next event series, presumably the M. Night Shyamalan drama “Wayward Pines,” which will star Matt Dillon.
“We’re gonna do these in a very significant way, with big scope and top talent and top marketing budgets,” Reilly promises of the “event series” model. “Most of these will be in production for well over 12 months, so these will be very significant programs.”
The various “24” stalwarts offered statements through FOX regarding the show’s return.
“The response to ’24” is unlike anything I have ever experienced as an actor before,” blurbs Sutherland. “To have the chance to reunite with the character, Jack Bauer, is like finding a lost friend. The story ideas from Howard Gordon are exciting and fresh, and will not disappoint. Great thanks to 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine Television and the FOX network for this opportunity. Make no mistake, my goal is to knock your socks off. See you soon.”
Adds Gordon, “Jack Bauer has always been an exciting, thrilling character, and I confess that I”ve missed him. I think the audience has too. The character has evolved through the years, and this new and exciting event series format is perfect to tell the next chapter of his story and continue to reflect how the world is changing. Fans can rest assured that the Jack they know and love will be back.”
Could this mark a permanent return for Jack Bauer and “24”? Reilly suggested the answer is “No, but maybe.”
“These event series are going to be stand-alone events,” Reilly said. “The idea’s also to give the audience something where they say, ‘That is an appointment show and there’s gonna be a beginning, middle and end. I don’t have to be in five years. I don’t have to follow it season-to-season.’ But some of these, and this is true of ’24,’ could have franchiseability, there could be sequels.”