'24' Returning to TV? Two Series, Including Jack Bauer Prequel, Are in the Works at Fox
By Philiana Ng
Jack Bauer's story may not be done after all.
Fox is currently developing not one but two potential 24 series, Dana Walden, co-Chairman and co-CEO of Fox Television Group, announced Thursday at the summer Television Critics Association press tour.
The first is a prequel centered on a young Jack Bauer, the character made famous by Kiefer Sutherland, while the second will take the 24 universe into the legal arena.
“We obviously love the show. The mechanism of telling the show, set in real time, is unique to 24 and we think it still has a lot of power and a lot of legs. Ever since the show left the air, we’ve talked about how do you reimagine 24?" Gary Newman, co-Chairman and co-CEO of Fox Television Group, said Thursday. "The times are fraught now; these are emotional times."
Newman detailed specifics for the two potential 24 series, revealing the blueprints for both.
"Security continues to be a big issue. In terms of the prequel, people love Jack Bauer and you would tell a story that I think the audience would very much love and see how that character becomes who he was and it’s set in the same world of security, which I think continues to be very relevant," Newman said of the prequel.
"The idea of moving that franchise from terrorism and security into a legal world was actually something we’ve talked about probably as far back as season three or four of 24 when from time to time we were in discussions for spinoffs," Newman said of the potential legal series. "That show deals with an execution of a prisoner and there are just 24 hours left before the execution is supposed to take place. The stakes are high. It potentially carries a lot of the same values that you would find in the old 24 with emotional stakes."
While both series are in development, it's clear Fox is high on having at least one 24 series back on its schedule in the near future.
"Regardless of the political climate, the time is always right for a show with that kind of [DNA] and we have terrific writers involved, who I’m sure we’ll make it feel relevant for this political time," Newman said.
Last July, when the 24 team was promoting its standalone series, 24: Legacy, producers were coy about whether they would get the chance to wrap up Jack's story following the cliffhanger ending of 24: Live Another Day that left his fate up in the air.
“We’re not planning that right now,” 24: Legacy executive producer Manny Coto said at the time, hinting that “we all want to finish that story.” 24 producer Howard Gordon was hopeful, saying, “The stars have to line up.”