Is the clock finally running out for Jack Bauer? According to Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment President, this season may be the last for Kiefer Sutherland’s oft-tortured hero.
At the recent TV Critic’s summer press tour, Reilly told iFmagazine that the upcoming season is the last one under the show’s current contract. And while Sutherland remains committed to the show, Reilly is unsure of its future.
“It’s our last contractual season of 24,” Reilly said. “There are a lot of moving parts, so we’re not sure what will happen after that.”
He continued, “We haven’t made any decision whether it’s back or not [after this upcoming season]. The producers are passionate, Kiefer is passionate and we don’t have any of them looking to jump ship. It’s a show we’re really proud of.”
Reilly concluded that, “It’s going to come down to a business decision. It’s not an inexpensive show on the network books and we also want to finish strong. This is not a show we want to prop up. It will be a whole creative and business discussion and something we’ll have to deal with over the next few months.”
Admittedly the show’s numbers have slipped a bit in the last couple seasons — from a high of 13.78 million in season five to 12.62 million in season seven — but did place 20th in overall viewers this year. In the end, it may be just too expensive for the network, especially considering that the contracts are up for renewal. Though the commercials for 24 are, next to American Idol, the most expensive in primetime, the network’s ad sales are also down about 16% from last year.
Reilly maintained that the show might still continue after next year but his initial comments align with the plans of 24 Executive Producer Howard Gordon. He wants to take Jack Bauer and company to theaters and, earlier this year, Gordon said, “My hope is to go [shoot the feature film] after the eighth season. That’s sort of what we’re aiming for. I think that a big-screen 24 will be a fitting send off for Jack.”
What do you think? Is it time for Jack to say goodbye to the small screen? Would you realistically pay to see a 24 movie?
Image courtesy FOX.