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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.

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January 2007 Archives

Reactions to the First Six Hours

January 30, 2007 6:22 PM


***WARNING: SPOILER ALERT***

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

***WARNING: SPOILER ALERT***

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. ...

HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE “24” SEASON 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.