6:14am PT by Lesley Goldberg
It's Official: '24' Returning to Fox as Event Series
Just days after Fox canceled Kiefer Sutherland drama Touch, the actor is returning to Fox to reprise his role as Jack Bauer in a 24 limited series.
The continuation of the series -- which spanned 192 episodes and a TV movie from 2001-10 -- will be produced by its former showrunner, Howard Gordon (Homeland). Like the original series, the reboot, dubbed 24: Live Another Day, hails from 20th Television and Imagine TV's Brian Grazer with Gordon's banner Teakwood Lane on board to co-produce. Fox will bow the limited project -- which will tell a 24-hour story over 12 episodes that jump hours -- in May 2014.
"24 compressed over 12 weeks, Jack is back," Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters early Monday during a conference call ahead of the network's upfront presentation. The executive noted 24 will likely mark Fox's first limited run series with the potential for additional closed-ended stories in the franchise.
“It’s something that I think if it doesn’t happen, I will not be heartbroken,” he said at the time. “I’m very proud of that run and how it ended. It was very hard to get it to the finish line with some kind of grace in closure. Why mess it up? But if you find the right story …”
Reilly noted that as 24 producers began crafting the plan for a feature, they all agreed "24 being compressed into two hours isn't 24," with Gordon having a "little light bulb" go off once Fox announced its plan to push into the limited series arena.
"The [event series] franchise is less than six months old and we're getting a who's who of Hollywood in the door to participate in this," Reilly said, noting he'll use the event franchise as a way to bridge the gap between the traditional fall and midseason schedules as the network shifts to program originals year-round.
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Fox currently has a handful of other event series in development as it looks to lure top names for shorter time commitments in a bid for prestige and to draw eyeballs to programming without interruption, a la The Following. Fox also has event series Blood Brothers (from Band of Brothers' Bruce C. McKenna), a Shogun remake from Michael De Luca and Nigel Williams and The People v. O.J. Simpson, which hails from Golden Globe winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flint).