Tick ... tick ... tickticktickticktick ... kaBOOM: Fox has ordered a reboot of "24," but Jack Bauer is no more. Instead, Fox told the TV press in Pasadena that the next man who has the worst day ever will be black.
Here's the official log line from Fox:
"The project will revolve around a military hero’s return to the U.S. and the trouble that follows him back -- compelling him to ask CTU for help in saving his life, and stopping what potentially could be one of the largest-scale terror attacks on American soil."
Per reports from Pasadena -- no, sorry TV fans, I am not there this time -- Fox TV chief Dana Walden told the press (as reported by James Hibberd in "EW"):
“It’s a new CTU, a new cast of characters,” she said. “It’s a completely different story in terms of the special ops groups that we’re focusing on. It’s a very contemporary-feeling story about the potential to activate new sleeper cells in the United States and radicalizing Americans."
Walden also confirmed to the press that an African-American male will be cast in the lead.
"24" -- which aired nine seasons beginning in 2001 -- was of course one of those epic series that seemed to reflect the moment, or many moments, spanning a decade of terrorism and war. Kiefer Sutherland's Bauer was the perfect comic book hero, stopping the bad guys just seconds before they destroyed the world, but not before they destroyed poor Los Angeles ... over and over again ...
It was all just great. And ludicrous.
The recent iteration was good too, but a somewhat pale, wan iteration, suggesting to some fans that its cultural moment had passed.
But obviously Fox (or any of the networks) is not one to let a classic franchise wither and die.
Moreover...while Bauer/Sutherland might not be back, the "24" production triumvirate will be: LI-native Howard Gordon, Manny Coto, and Evan Katz. Great producers all, these guys know what they are doing, and know what has to be done. An African-American lead? The absolute best way to re-boot this classic. (An Arab-American lead? That'd be interesting! Rami Malek already has a job. Plenty of other fine actors out there, however...)
There's no word on ETA or cast decisions, although Fox execs told the press a female co-lead will also be cast.
Here's more from the release:
"FOX has ordered the pilot 24: LEGACY, a potential new series installment of the groundbreaking and Emmy Award-winning drama franchise most recently revived as the event series '24: Live Another Day,' it was announced today by Dana Walden and Gary Newman, Chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. Howard Gordon ('Homeland,' '24'), Manny Coto ('24') and Evan Katz ('24') will serve as executive producers. The project will be produced by 20th Century Fox Television, Imagine Television and Gordon’s Teakwood Lane Productions. The pilot will feature an all-new cast of characters and retain the real-time, pulse-pounding, fast-paced format with split screens and complex interweaving storylines, with each episode representing one hour of an eventful day."