What's it like to help put together one of the hottest shows on broadcast? TelevisionWeek's new blogger, "24" story editor Matt Michnovetz, is giving us a peek under the tent of the Fox series, which has grown from a cult phenomenon into a staple of the network's schedule. With Matt's blog, "24" -- In Real Time, TVWeek.com readers will get the tick-tock on how the show comes together.


Previous Months


Reactions to the First Six Hours

January 30, 2007 6:22 PM


Judging from some of the comments, everyone is really digging this new season. It’s great to see what characters you’d like to see return. Some of you may just get your wish.

Warning, the following contains spoilers for those of you who haven’t seen the last episode…

The reaction of viewers to the story of Graem being Jack’s brother and the reveal of Jack’s father, played by James Cromwell, has been overwhelming. Rest assured, there will be many more twists and turns in the coming episodes.

The idea of telling a story about Jack’s family, his history, is something that we felt strongly about. This season’s threat seemed like the appropriate time to explore some of Jack’s secrets and take the audience along on an emotional ride.

While the writers do sometimes gauge fan reactions, there’s rarely enough time to incorporate it into the story, or the final cut, for that matter. We determine the direction the story will take based upon the most emotional and dramatically satisfying route. Usually, we’ll flesh out several storylines or possibilities for an episode, but in the end, we decide to go with the one that has the most intensity.

Did anyone catch the reveal of the famous “24 Fan Phone Number” last night?

The First Five Hours…

January 23, 2007 4:30 PM


If you did not see the first five hours of “24” Day 6, you do not want to continue reading. This blog will contain serious spoilers! But, if you have seen these episodes, then please, continue reading. …

Well, the first five episodes are down and we are off and running. In this time period, we’ve witnessed Jack Bauer’s return from the clutches of the Chinese; Jack’s uneasy alliance with a terrorist leader; the detonation of a suitcase nuke on U.S. soil, effectively wiping out the city of Valencia; the death of Curtis Manning at Jack’s hands; the frightening beginnings of what looks eerily close to a U.S. Police State; and the revelation that last year’s blue-tooth-wearing evil puppet master Graem is actually Jack’s brother! And that’s all before noon.

What does this mean for fans of “24”? It means you’re in for a terrifying, edge-of-your-seat, no-nonsense season.

In previous seasons, we often used the first episode to reveal the so-called “threat” for that season. Whether it’s an assassination attempt, a nuclear bomb, a virus, or the kidnapping of the Secretary of Defense, they’ve been clearly stated in the season premiere.

This season, like last season, we use the first four episode run, the miniseries, as a jump start to set up and effectively launch the new threat. In this case it’s suitcase nukes.

And in hour five, we got Jack back on the trail of these WMDs and into a fateful encounter with his own brother. We also decided to up the ante by revealing that Jack’s brother is actually Graem, one of the men influencing President Logan’s corrupt administration last season. Of course, it wouldn’t be “24” if characters from the past didn’t turn up in shocking ways to play a role in another fateful day.

What characters from the past will make a surprise return? Looking forward to your thoughts on these questions and the premiere. ...


January 11, 2007 1:37 AM

For fans who’ve been waiting since last May to find out what happened to Jack as he was slapped across the cargo hold of a slow boat to Shanghai … this Sunday night is Judgment Night.

For me and my family, it’s a holiday – it’s the return of the Jack Bauer Power Hour. Only this time, it’s two hours … and two hours on two nights back to back. Let’s face it, an event like this comes only once a year, so you better prepare for it.

Not that I can recommend the same prep for everyone, but I like to start with the gear: my “24” Day 6 T-shirt and any other appropriate apparel I can get clean before the show. That includes hats, boxers, tank tops, hooded sweatshirts, sweat jackets, leg warmers, bandanas, ski masks, and of course … my Jack sack.

Then I run an AV diagnostic, making sure the HD DVR and the 7.1 surround sound are ready for take off. “24” is one of those shows that is made for the home theatre experience. The people who make it like to watch it … and it shows.

Next, I line up the appropriate food and beverage. As any die-hard fan will tell you, the nail-biting intensity of Jack Bauer’s day is not something you want to experience on an empty stomach. It’s better to go with something light, yet substantial … a little roughage, but long on flavor. Under these guidelines, I recommend buffalo wings and a nice Pinot Noir … or any dark beer.

Finally, I collect my wife and loyal beast (my dog) to join me on this momentous occasion. Of course, family and/or close friends are also important … the people you want to clutch and squeeze and disturb by yelling at the screen.

If you’re prepared, hang on and get ready for the ride of your life. I’m looking forward to your comments and thoughts on the premiere …

Excitement Before the Premiere

January 9, 2007 2:48 PM

With less than a week to the season premiere, the excitement is building. The mood around the set is ecstatic. Several great reviews, including a knock-out EW article by Stephen King, has put everyone on a high.

It seems like an eternity since we first broke story on Day 6. It was actually almost eight months ago. We began immediately after completing the final scripts for Day 5. Executive Producer and show runner, Howard Gordon, spent his brief hiatus writing the first episode of this new season.

Looking back, it’s great to see this new season take shape. The pressure was on to make it even better than the last. It wasn’t easy, but it looks like we may have a shot at pulling that off.

We premiere with two nights of two episodes each, four episodes back to back, right out of the gate. And the action and thrills never let up for a minute. One of the elements of “24” that has remained effective is the ability to go back and reinvent ourselves each season. So, like the previous seasons, Jack’s day will start with a new threat and some new faces.

Next time, I’ll cover what you need to know to prepare for the season premiere. In the meantime, feel free to discuss which characters you’d like to see return.

Making of the DVD

December 20, 2006 2:09 AM

Last week I mentioned how interesting it was to record the DVD commentary. It’s a unique experience that as an average viewer, I might take for granted. The process itself, however, is not as easy at it would appear.

The first thing about recording the commentary is that it’s very similar to recording it live. You go into a recording area with whomever you are doing the commentary with, you get your coffee or beverage to keep your mouth lubricated, and you do it. You get no second take. There’s no pause either – unless the technician really likes you or feels sorry for you. So technically, the next time you hear the final product is when it’s released – meaning 5 million others around the world are hearing it too. And it’s usually unedited.

Ideally, you want your commentary to be equal parts informative and entertaining. It’s all too easy to get locked into relaying too much information for the sake of speaking or too little for the sake of letting the scene play.

And sometimes, you learn more about the person doing the commentary than the actual episode that you’re watching.

'24' Season 5 DVD

December 13, 2006 5:22 PM

Last week I briefly mentioned the release of the “24” season 5 DVD. Well, I was finally able to sit down and go through it, sampling some of the extras, including the deleted scenes and several commentaries.

The deleted scenes are well worth checking out. Some are extended sequences, cut from the final versions of the episodes for various reasons. Also included is our 100th episode reel. This short compilation features a “best of” throughout “24’s” first four seasons. Compiled by our writers and produced by our Associate Producer and one of our editors, it screened for cast and crew at our 100th episode party last year… and it was a big hit!

There are also multiple commentaries featuring cast members, writers, producers, directors and special guests. These commentaries range from informative and eye opening, to no educational value whatsoever, except plain entertainment. Remind me to share the experience of how a commentary gets made at some point. It’s very interesting.

The rest of the extras are quite good. They include several featurettes and a DVD-only “prequel” linking the events of season 5 to season 6. In the prequel, we see Jack in China, forced to make a fateful choice. Oh, and he’s got a beard too! There’s also a trailer for season 6 that looks like it should be a feature film.

Overall, this DVD set is exceptional. (Although, I may be a little bit biased.) If you’re a fan of the show, you will not be disappointed.

Anyone checked it out yet? Chime in ….

‘24’—In Real Time

December 7, 2006 3:52 PM

Hello blogosphere…

This is an update from the set of “24.” With the premiere of our sixth season coming up, January 14th, this is an exciting time to explain a little bit about what goes into making the show as well as share some of the interesting antics that happen on and off the set.

And what better place to start, than with antics…

To celebrate the release this week of the “24 season 5” DVD, as well as the new photo book, “24: Behind the scenes”, Fox Home Entertainment threw the cast and crew a party at Les Deux restaurant in Hollywood. It started with the red carpet treatment, where actors and producers met the media in front of flash bulbs. The rest of us got off easier and just walked in through the front door.

Once inside, it was a much more relaxed and somewhat intimate setting. Leather couches and an open patio allowed guests to mingle and dine. Around the rooms were large prints from the “24” photo book, each featuring a classic shot from one of the show’s five seasons. They pulled out all the stops for this party, from hand-rolled sushi to hand-rolled cigars(note: not on the same table). There were also several booths featuring bottle service and mixers to compliment an expansive and impressive open bar.

Things got a little out of hand as the clock got closer to midnight. Rounds of Patron shots and skewers of filet mignon began to arrive at a staggering pace. The level of embarrassing antics rose in direct proportion to the hangovers many people were going to feel the following day.

Fortunately, everyone made it home safe and despite lack of sleep, it was back to work as usual…