The One Extra Show Fox MUST Do To Send Off “24” Properly (Don’t Worry, No Spoilers Here)

Mar 30, 2010

With the end of “24” as a TV series now officially announced, there’s one extra show Fox really needs to do to send off “24” properly.

And it’s got nothing to do with this season’s arc, per se.

I’m basically stealing this idea from Steven Melnick, the marketing maven of 20th Century Fox Television.

Over the past several years, Melnick and his team have arranged for some panel discussions featuring the on-air and behind-the-scenes talent of some of the shows 20th Century Fox Television has produced, including “24.”

These sessions—especially the ones about “24”—have been fun, fascinating, enlightening and entertaining as all get out. The audience for these discussions has been selected people who work in the TV industry on a by-invitation-only basis.

With “24” wrapping up after eight seasons, Fox needs to bring this idea to everyone who’s been a fan of the show.

Here’s how: Fox announces it’s doing this one-hour or 90-minute “wrap-up” discussion show about ‘24” that will air live soon after the night of the show’s finale.

One would hope that participating in the show would be "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, showrunner Howard Gordon, creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran, and other selected behind-the-scenes and on-air talent from the past eight seasons.

From the on-air side this could include Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe), Dennis Haysbert (President David Palmer), Carlos Bernard (Tony Almeida), Louis Lombardi (Edgar Stiles), Kim Raver (Audrey Raines), Arnold Vosloo (Habib Marwan) or any other of the hundreds of talented actors who’ve done such gripping work on “24.”

From behind-the-camera there’s also a plethora of wonderfully talented people to choose from for the panel, including directors Jon Cassar and Brad Turner, writers Evan Katz, Manny Coto and David Fury, producer Paul Gadd, composer Sean Callery, cinematographer Rodney Charters, editors David Latham and Scott Powell, and so on.

You get the idea. There’s certainly no dearth of gifted creative people who have been responsible for ‘24” over the years who could be on the panel.

Think of this as similar to the “reunion” shows Jeff Probst hosts after each season’s “Survivor.”

Only this will be a wrap-up for the entire run of “24.” A good host is a must—someone who both knows the series and can keep the proceedings moving in a fun and stimulating manner, with humor, grace and insight.

And the questions? They’ll come from all of us. To submit a question, let’s rip a page from the last presidential election. You submit your question on YouTube. The producers of the special, in conjunction with the host of the show, will cull through them and pick the best, most intriguing questions to be asked during the live program.

I think this is a terrific way to present all of us fans with closure to this great series, as we await a “24” movie. It’s a lot better than a show of highlight clips reviewing eight seasons.

Finally, given how much enjoyment so many of us have gotten from “24” over the years, let’s combine one more element into this show, taken from “ ‘Idol’ Gives Back.”

The show will also serve as a fundraiser to raise money to cure Parkinson’s disease. Why Parkinson’s? It’s a personal choice. My stepdad battled it for more than 25 years, so I’ve seen the ravages of Parkinson’s up close. The host of the show can simply say up front that  this special program is also a fundraiser and ask that viewers go to a website and donate whatever they can. Advertisers in the show could also be asked to donate something as well.

As I’ve previously written, I think “24” is the best thriller series ever done on TV.

As a journalist who’s covered the industry for quite awhile now, here’s one last observation I have about "24." I talk to a lot of people in media, from TV production to distribution to advertising. And what’s been striking over the past eight years is that clearly the show that got mentioned most often when I asked men in media what they watched on TV, was “24.”

The series has made its mark. Let’s see Fox send it off in the style it deserves.#

10 Comments

  1. Chuck,
    Have you forgotten that for several seasons, Fox did exactly what you are proposing online after EACH EPISODE of 24.
    Kandoo Films did a terrific job producing a weekly live show for fans that included actors, creators and took viewer questions.
    I agree that this is would be a fitting tribute to a terrific show and deserves to be broadcast, not limited to broadband — although Fox’s limited 2 hour primetime window poses a scheduling challenge.
    Arthur

  2. Fox would never do this.
    Instead, they’d add it as an extra to the DVD/BD sets.
    True fans will then buy the DVD or Blu-ray set just to see the wrap-up show.

  3. Basically, what you’re suggesting is a televised version of the recently concluded Paley Festival, which runs each spring here in Los Angeles. It’s fascinating and illuminating to hear a frank discussion from and among the creators and actors of a great show. But what makes these evenings so special is the freedom to go beyond usual network PR spin to hint at the personal and corporate politics behind a show’s rise (and/or fall). I can’t imagine FOX (or any network, really) allowing honest comments to go on the air without a heavy dose of image polishing. Too bad, because your idea is a great one!

  4. Hi Arthur. Yes, I liked those online shows. And, as a few folks have been kind enough to email me, it’s similar to the podcasts we here at TVWeek did for a few seasons every Tuesday morning with showrunner Howard Gordon or someone on his writing staff. Of course the idea I’m proposing now is a bigger, event version of those for broadcast. Let’s hope Fox decides to do it.

    Chuck Ross
  5. Chuck, this is an amazing idea – you must pass on this suggestion to Howard Gordon the next time you see him. And I’d love to see you as the host, I think you’d be perfect!

  6. Chuck,
    I really enjoyed your 24 podcasts and yes they too are a good model for what you’re proposing on a larger scale.
    I really think you should pursue this. If Fox won’t agree you should turn to the TV Academy. This would make a great benefit event for the Academy Foundation (which supports a range of scholarship programs) and is sure to be an instant sellout and, subsequently, a wonderful webcast.
    Arthur

  7. I could not agree more, and would fight tooth and nail (or maybe with the bluster of a “24″-style gun battle) to be in that audience, but I think the audience should also be regular fans, not just industry folks, and these should be held in large venues – movie theaters – where scenes can be replayed on the big screen with big audio.
    I am disappointed that there hasn’t been more of a fan outcry about the demise of the series. I agree, even on a bad day, it is still the BEST of television, and still is the most memorable game-changing dramatic format of its day, including its early impact on DVD sales of TV shows.
    One of the must-have panelists should be Penny Johnson Jerald, the actress who played President Palmer’s conniving wife. That was a breakthrough role for African-American women in prime time! And, she was villainously great in the role. 24 has had one of the most diverse casts on modern television, truly breakthrough.
    Aside from the panel idea (or perhaps a hybrid), I’d love to see massive 24 viewing parties for the final episode set up in theaters across the country with cast members dispatched to make surprise appearances. Lots more ideas to help 24 go out with a ‘bang.’ Fans, unite for the cause!
    Keifer Sutherland has been phenomenal to watch and obviously a real leader behind the scenes, despite his personal issues. Having had the pleasure of meeting him in person a few years ago at NATPE and seeing his appearances to promote the show over the years, I can say he is one of the most gracious people I have ever met.
    I’m an avid 24 fan who will miss this show, ‘dammit!’
    twitter @carolemunroe

  8. “24″ is the only TV drama I have watched weekly and loved it. Excellent acting and story line. I am a Great Grandmother and actually watch very little TV. I enjoy my computer. Thank you for any further viewing information of the actors in ’24′.

  9. Ive been researching this field lately and I have to agree

  10. Good post, I just found your blog searching. Could you send me an email I have a question…

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