In what might be the longest "expected" cancellation of a show in TV history, Fox’s "24" has been officially canceled. There are 11 hours left and the show will end with a two-hour finale during the May sweeps on Monday, May 24. There will likely be another night leading up to the finale that will also show two episodes back-to-back. The show ends after its eighth season.
News of the show’s possible cancelation this season was first brought to the attention of the TV industry by TVWeek, we believe, back on August 24, 2009. That’s the day iFmagazine.com published an article by Abbie Bernstein, in which she quoted Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly as saying that this season might be the series’ last. Noting that the show was expensive to produce–reportedly about $4 million an episode–he noted that the network’s contract with the show, and the creative team responsible for it, ended after this season.
As Reilly said at the time, "It’s going to come down to a business decision."
Fox Broadcasting ended up passing on renewing the show. There had been some talk in recent weeks that NBC would pick it up, but that didn’t happen.
"24’s" longtime showrunner, Howard Gordon, commenting on the demise of the series, told the Los Angeles Times Show Tracker blog, "If they said tomorrow that you have a ninth season, it’s not something we’d be up for because we realize Jack’s story in the real-time format has been told. Jack is a wonderful character who can live past the ’24’ real-time franchise. As far as doing this high wire act…this is far as we can take it."
Both Gordon and "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, who plays the serie’s iconic lead character, Jack Bauer, had said that they are looking forward to the previously announced plans for a feature film version of "24." Thus far it’s still in development, and a first-draft screenplay has been written.
Here’s what Sutherland told Show Tracker about ending the TV version of "24"–the show is scheduled to wrap production April 9: "We’re still working, and I’m desperately trying to keep my head in that and I think everyone else is as well. I know the end will be a very difficult day, and I would love to have avoided it. It’s hard. I broke it down the other day: I’ve worked on ’24’ more than half of my professional career. We’ve made 196 hours of TV…close to 100 movies. That’s a very successful career in itself. I think Gene Hackman and my father [actor Donald Sutherland] are the only two people who’ve made more stuff than that. So it would be silly for me to pretend the end of this would not have a huge impact on my life."
To read a tribute to "24," and why it’s been so successful, written a few weeks ago by TVWeek Open Mic blogger Chuck Ross, click here.