"24"’s Future Uncertain

3/15/2010 Posted by Admin

Television News

"24"’s Future Uncertain

By our guest blogger, Alexandra Cervenak

With sagging ratings and rumors swirling of its imminent cancelation, it seemed that time was running out for Fox’s once juggernaut series "24." But news has just surfaced that NBC--no doubt desperately in need of programming to fill the vacancy left by the now defunct "The Jay Leno Show"--has expressed interest in picking up the series should Fox decide to let it go.

Even though "24" is still Fox’s third most-watched show, after "American Idol" and "House," its ratings have been in a decline (it’s down 10 percent from last year) and it hardly generates the type of buzz it once did. Add the fact that thanks to its action sequences production costs for the series are high, and Fox is seriously considering making the current 8th season of the show its last.

NBC opting to grab the series is still a long shot thanks to those high costs, but the interest is definitely there. The irony of all this is that NBC has jettisoned several of its own series only to have them picked up by other networks, such as "Scrubs," which found a home on ABC and more recently, the cop drama "Southland," which moved to TNT.

But a consolation for "24" fans worried about its future is that plans are being made to turn the series into a feature film, with Billy Ray ("State of Play") said to be penning a script from a concept that has the endorsement of show star Kiefer Sutherland himself.  The catch, however, is that should NBC decide to pick up "24," the feature film may not get made--at least not right away--as "24" bigwigs have long held that thanks to the TV show’s grueling production schedule shooting a movie simultaneously would be next to impossible.

Sutherland, who plays now iconic CTU agent Jack Bauer, feels otherwise, telling Entertainment Weekly, “In a media world that is changing unbelievably fast, a television series can either act as a great trailer for a film, or a film can act as a great trailer for a television series.” But the final call, of course, isn’t up to Sutherland--it all hinges on the yet-to-be-made decision of whether "24" will sticking around on Fox for a 9th season.

With eight seasons under its belt, now seems like a natural time for "24" to bow out--there are, after all, only so many times Jack Bauer can save the world from nuclear war, terrorists and the like before it all just seems redundant. Nevertheless, a move to NBC may be just the jolt the series needs to inject some new creativity into its plot lines.

As for becoming a two-hour film, "24" might seem tailor made for the switch--the series proved as much when it released a TV movie, "24: Redemption," based on Jack Bauer’s self-imposed exile in Africa as a prequel for its 7th season. But while there aren’t many television shows that can match "24"’s action on the small screen, entering into the feature film arena is a whole different ballgame.

The novelty of "24" isn’t necessarily its stalwart-American-good guy-catches-foreign-bad guy plotlines, but that it deconstructed this typical action flick narrative into real time. A transition to the movie theater means this gimmick is gone, so the makers of any "24" film need to be sure that its driving force can only be Sutherland’s Jack Bauer and not so generic it could just have easily been another Bourne movie starring Matt Damon.

While Fox has yet to make a decision about the future of "24," you can still catch it in the meantime on the network Mondays at 9 pm EST.


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  1. Parisian Heart said...

    I surprised myself by becoming a huge fan of "24." It contains way more violence than I typically watch, but it's not gratuitous. The show makes me think--between episodes and seasons, that is. (During an episode, I scarcely breathe.) Assuming the quality of the show can be maintained, I hope it continues on one network or another.