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Sorry, Jack Bauer fans: The clock's run out on '24'

24: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer.

24: Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer. Photo Credit: FOX

The rumors of its demise are true: "24" is dead.

Fox on Friday said the series will end May 24. However, Kiefer Sutherland - who needs no introduction to fans - said, "Looking ahead to the future, Howard Gordon 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.

VOTE: How do you feel about "24" getting canceled?

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 with 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 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-9/11, 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 Friday 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."

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