Variety – By: Michael Schneider
Tick, tick, tick, BONG!!!! “24’s” time is almost up.
20th Century Fox TV and Fox appear ready to end the long-running hit after this season, the show’s eighth.
Studio and network execs declined comment — but it’s believed that the final decision will be made in the next day or two. Move is not a huge surprise, but still reps the end of an era for Fox.
“24” helped usher in Fox’s ratings surge in the 2000s, as the franchise — along with “American Idol” and “House,” among other series — led the network’s adults 18-49 ratings crown.
But the cost of producing “24” has continued to increase, while ratings have dipped. A one-time critical darling, “24” has also received its share of knocks from reviewers this season.
The studio is said to be considering shopping “24” to other nets — but given the thriller’s age and price tag, it’s believed that the interest from other outlets will be limited.
But even as bell tolls for “24,” the franchise is far from over. Sutherland and the “24” team have been keen on turning the show into a movie property, and have made major strides in recent months toward making that long-term goal a reality.
Twentieth Century Fox’s film side recently hired scribe Billy Ray (“State of Play,” “Flightplan”) to pen the script for the feature version. (Daily Variety, Feb. 8.)
Ray’s pitch, which takes Jack Bauer to Europe, was a hit with Fox execs and producers of the high-concept television series.
Script is said to have come through “24” star Sutherland, who’s also an exec producer on the series — and is said to be eager to turn the long-running TV skein into a movie franchise.
Such a move into the features world was considered impossible while production continued on the TV series — given that “24” takes much of the year to produce, given its feature-like shooting schedule. But with “24” expected to end its run, the ability to focus on a movie could now finally be in sight…
The story of 24 is presented in the semblance of real time. Each season depicts a 24-hour period in the life of Jack Bauer, who works with the United States government as it fights fictitious terrorist threats to the United States. Bauer is often in the field for the Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) as it tries to safeguard the nation from terrorist threats. The show also follows the actions of associated CTU agents, government officials and terrorists.
24 is the second longest-running espionage-themed series in television history, behind The Avengers by longevity of broadcast. It surpassed the original Mission: Impossible series by number of episodes with the eighth season, after the conclusion of which 24 will overtake The Avengers. Kiefer Sutherland is currently only under contract until the end of the eighth season, but is “absolutely open” to return for a ninth season. Formal talks regarding a ninth season were to commence during the airing of the eighth season; however, it is believed that 24 will end after its eighth season.
Season 1 begins and ends at 12:00 AM on the day of the California presidential primary. Jack Bauer must protect Senator David Palmer from an assassination plot, and rescue his own family from those responsible for the plot, who seek retribution for Jack’s and David Palmer’s involvement with a covert U.S. mission in the Balkans.
Set 18 months after season 1, season 2 begins and ends at 8:00 AM. Jack must stop a nuclear bomb from detonating in Los Angeles, then assist President David Palmer in proving who is responsible for the threat.
Set 3 years after season 2, season 3 begins and ends at 1:00 PM. While struggling with a heroin addiction, Jack must re-infiltrate a Mexican drug cartel in order to acquire a deadly virus being marketed underground. Meanwhile, President David Palmer is preparing for a live presidential debate in the run up to elections.
Set 18 months after season 3, season 4 begins and ends at 7:00 AM. Jack must save the lives of his new boss Secretary of Defense James Heller and Heller’s daughter Audrey Raines (with whom Jack is romantically involved) when they are kidnapped by terrorists. The same terrorists then launch further attacks against America, and Jack is forced to use unorthodox methods to stop them, which will have long-term consequences for both Jack and the U.S.
Set 18 months after season 4, season 5 begins and ends at 7:00 AM. Jack is believed to be dead by everyone except a few of his closest friends. He is forced to resurface when some of those friends are murdered and he is framed for the murders. Terrorists with connections to the U.S. government attempt to steal nerve gas in order to protect U.S. oil interests in Asia, and Jack discovers an insidious conspiracy while trying to stop them.
Set 20 months after season 5, season 6 begins and ends at 6:00 AM. Jack is released after being detained in a Chinese prison for twenty months. Terrorists plot to set off suitcase nuclear devices in the United States and Jack must stop them; later, Jack has to choose between his loved ones and national security when the Chinese set their sights on sensitive circuitry that could trigger a war between the U.S. and Russia.
Redemption is a television movie which aired on November 23, 2008, bridging the gap between the sixth and seventh seasons of 24. Set three and a half years after season 6, Jack finds himself caught up in a military coup in the fictional African nation of Sangala. Meanwhile, in the United States, it is Inauguration Day, where Allison Taylor is being sworn into office as President.
Set 65 days after the events of Redemption, season 7 begins and ends at 8:00 AM. A major national security incident occurs when the firewall responsible for protecting America’s government computer infrastructure is breached by the same people responsible for a conflict in Sangala. A larger conspiracy involving government officials and private military contractors is revealed as the season progresses. The season features the show’s first female president, Allison Taylor, and it is the first season to take place completely outside Los Angeles.
Set an unknown amount of time after season 7, season 8 begins and ends at 4:00 PM in New York City. Jack is about to leave for Los Angeles with his daughter, Kim, her husband and her young daughter when he is brought in by CTU to uncover a Russian extremist plot to assassinate Islamic leader Omar Hassan during peace negotiations with U.S. President Taylor.
Cattle Network: Kiefer Sutherland Loses Thousands In Cattle Sales Scandal