"24" has been cancelled.
Take a deep breath. We will go on.
Howard Gordon has confirmed to the Hollywood Reporter, and confirmed in considerable detail. The press release has been released, and here is my wrap in tomorrow's Newsday about this great and entirely unique series...
The rumors of its demise are true: "24" is dead.
Fox yesterday said the series will end May 24. However, Kiefer Sutherland - who needs no introduction to fans - said, "looking ahead to the future, Howard Gordon [executive producer] and I are excited about the opportunity to create the feature film version of '24.'"
So on second thought, rumors of its demise are false.
In any event, one of TV's defining series of the 2000s will soon be over, beset by falling ratings (most recently under 9 million, compared to nearly 14 million four years ago) and creative/viewer fatigue. Reports of cancellation have circulated for months.
Word of cancellation first broke in the Hollywood Reporter's well-read blog, "The Live Feed," which quoted Gordon as saying, "there are other possible iterations of Jack Bauer and his world - whether a movie or some other sort of scenario. We're developing the movie, Billy Ray [”State of Play,” “Shattered Glass”] is writing it. It depends on how well it comes out and Fox's appetite. Most importantly it's about ending the show right and doing it with the same level of intensity and commitment that we started with."
Per Gordon, the movie would be set in Europe.
But Europe or bust, "24" will forever remain one of TV's unique and occasionally great series. Born post-Nine Eleven, and bristling with revenge, Jack Bauer (Sutherland) killed a vast number of terrorists, saved the world about four or five times, inspired fans in the Bush administration (per many reports), and created an entirely original form of serial television.
One can say with reasonable certainty, there has never been anything quite like it. In a statement yesterday, Sutherland said, “This has been the role of a lifetime, and I will never be able to fully express my appreciation to everyone who made it possible. While the end of the series is bittersweet, we always wanted 24 to finish on a high note, so the decision to make the eighth season our last was one we all agreed upon."
Here's the post from James Hibberd, who broke the story...
"After eight seasons, Fox’s “24” is coming to an end.
The groundbreaking action drama will air its final real-time episode in May, the victim of a confluence of circumstances: a swelling budget, declining ratings and creative fatigue.
Yet for fans of Jack Bauer, there remains hope. Studio 20th TV is developing a theatrical film that takes Bauer to Europe, and showrunner and executive producer Howard Gordon says other possibilities are being explored as well.
“There are other possible iterations of Jack Bauer and his world,” Gordon said (full Q&A with Gordon about series ending here).The writing has been on the wall for the show all season, which Gordon said felt like “senior year of high school” to star Kiefer Sutherland.
Because of the constant upward spiral of cast and creative team salaries, any drama begins to carry serious financial weight after its fifth year. Fox paid a hefty $5 million per episode license fee to 20th TV.
HR: What's next for "24"?
Gordon: There are other possible iterations of Jack Bauer and his world -- whether a movie or some other sort of scenario. We're developing the movie, Billy Ray (”State of Play,” “Shattered Glass”) is writing it. It depends on how well it comes out and Fox's appetite. Most importantly it's about ending the show right and doing it with the same level of intensity and commitment that we started with.
THR: When's the soonest that fans could realistically expect a feature film?Gordon: Obviously the script's still being written. It could be as early as next year depending on how things come together.
THR: Since the setting shifts to Europe for the movie, will CTU still play a role?
Gordon: Yes and no. Jack is really the center of it, catching up with him emotionally and locationally where he is. The opportunity is not to use the real-time aspect and also to do it on a scale the TV show never allowed.
THR: Is there anything TV-related that you're looking to do in the future with the “24” brand?
Gordon: There are conversations about that. If one of the writers came up with a good idea, I'd happily pitch to Kiefer and happily pitch the show to the network -- whether Fox or someone else. We just don't have that idea and that's where everything has to start.
THR: You never pitched an idea for next season?
Gordon: We couldn't come up with something that really satisfied us. We've done everything we feel we can do with that character in this format.
THR: How ending the show come about?
Gordon: It helped that this was the end of a lot of peoples' contracts. There was a deal finiteness in place. Also, every year is a high-wire act. We all look at each other and sk, 'Can we really do this again?' and it's not with complete conviction that we say,
'Yes.' As an act of faith and effort, we get through it. This year Kiefer said it felt like the senior year of high school.