During Fox’s upfront press call in May, Fox TV Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden revealed that former 24 executive showrunner Howard Gordon is working with 24 co-creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran on a possible new incarnation of the real-time drama. Walden would not elaborate on what the new premise is but noted that “we are very excited about where the show would go.”
We have learned that where the potential new installment would go is the past. We hear the new 24 series, now in active development at 20th TV and Imagine TV, will serve as a prequel to the original 2001 series. Written by Gordon, Cochran and Surnow, it is said to be in the vein of the original and will trace the origin story of CTU agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland on 24 for eight seasons and on follow-up limited series 24: Live Another Day.
The Fox network and 24 producers 20th Century Fox, Imagine TV’s Brian Grazer and Gordon had been discussing new ideas for a 24 series since the end of 24: Legacy in 2017. The prequel is one of two 24 reboot ideas that are being developed, along with a legal thriller written by Gordon and Jeremy Doner.
Sutherland had indicated that he might be done playing the physically demanding role of Bauer, who’s always on the run, putting his his life on the line to thwart another terrorist threat. Doing a prequel would allow Fox to bring back a beloved character without putting Sutherland through the grind of an action drama series again. (It’s worth noting that 24 produced 24 episodes in each of its eight seasons, plus a movie)
NBC and EuropaCorp recently did a TV series prequel to the Taken movie franchise with a younger version of the character played by Liam Neeson in the films, which was developed by a TV writer-producer. The 24 situation is different as the potential prequel series is being developed by the same creative brain trust — Gordon, Surnow and Cochran — that led the original series to a drama series Emmy, and all three of them know the Jack Bauer character inside and out. (The series also also earned Sutherland an Emmy.) This is somewhat reminiscent of CBS’ Young Sheldon prequel series, which hails from The Big Bang Theory team of Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro.
24 was the first recent drama to get a revival treatment in the form of a limited series with 2014’s 24: Live Another Day. It was followed by NBC’s Heroes Reborn and Fox’s Prison Break and The X-Files.