Dammit, Fox! Are you ready for more Jack Bauer… without Kiefer Sutherland? No, me neither. Per THR, Fox is developing a new 24 prequel series that will explore the origins of the counter terrorist agent Jack Bauer before the events of the original series. The good news is that the idea comes from original series creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, who are reportedly teaming for the idea with executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon. Surnow and Cochran will pen the script.
Back in May, Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden revealed that there was a new incarnation in the works at upfronts, though she kept things vague at the time offering only the standard executive speak:““we are very excited about where the show would go.” For now, there’s no word on when the show might hit the air, though the report notes there were rumors of a midseason launch.
24 originally ran for eight seasons before the limited series revival 24: Live Another Day, which brought back Sutherland as Bauer for a 12-episode run. Fox attempted to reboot the 24 franchise last year with the short-lived 24: Legacy, which starred Straight Outta Compton breakout Corey Hawkins as Eric Carter, an ex-Army Ranger who finds himself in a race against the clock to stop a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The series connected to the original narrative, with some familiar faces popping up along the way, but couldn’t hold on to the audience. Legacy had a huge debut, launching after the super bowl, but ultimately ratings cooled, the 12-episode season wrapped with 6.3 million total viewers (3.4 million viewers in Live+Same Day), and was cancelled by the network.
Legacy was actually a pretty strong action series and might have fared better without the 24 brand attached, but in my opinion, Jack Bauer was always what made the series work. Specifically, Sutherland’s performance as Bauer. Not the real-time structure, though that was certainly a novelty when the series first debuted (and something the team will reportedly keep for the new incarnation). What remains to be seen is if the character is enough to bring fans back without Sutherland’s performance behind it. One thing’s for sure, whoever they cast has some big, brutal shoes to fill.