'24' Returns To Fox: When Will New Season Air? Kiefer Sutherland Says Jack Bauer Comeback 'Will Not Disappoint' [VIDEO & REPORT]

By Staff Reporter May 14, 2013 4:59 PM EDT

'24' returns to Fox next year! What will happen to Jack Bauer? (Photo: Fox)

'24' returns to Fox next year! What will happen to Jack Bauer? (Photo: Fox)

24 returns to Fox next year for a limited run, according to a surprise announcement by Fox executives Monday. The drama, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, ended its original run in 2010. Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly said creators had been thinking about bringing 24 back in the form of a movie using the original cast, but changed tracks when Fox announced its interest in a big event miniseries. The 24 team decided that would be the perfect format.

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"They always had this idea of maybe someday doing a feature film," he said. "I think they all agreed 24 being compressed into two hours is not 24."

That's for sure. It's for the best that 24 returns to Fox rather than heading for the big screen. After all, the unique format of 24, with its groundbreaking use of the concept of real time, was part of what caught viewers' attention in the first place.

24 followed the efforts of a fictional anti-terrorist organization's efforts to foil terrorist attacks against America. Episodes generally revolved around Jack Bauer, U.S. government officials, and whatever villain was planning to devastate America with some horrific plot. 24 took the tone of a political thriller, with Bauer racing against time -- and the show invented a unique format to maintain 24's high tension and suspenseful pace.

Each 24 season represented one 24 hour day, with 24 hour-long episodes following the stories events in real time. The series was so devoted to the real time concept that time in the 24 universe continued to elapse during commercial breaks, with a running clock appearing on screen before and after each break to remind viewers of how many minutes had passed and to emphasize the "race against the clock" tone of the series. To keep abreast of developments in secondary storylines and different scenes, 24 frequently used split screens to check in with multiple characters at the same moment.

It makes sense, then, that we won't see 24 coming back in the form of a movie: it would be nearly impossible to tell 24-style stories in real time in under three hours.

24's return to Fox has made Kiefer Sutherland very happy. The star said he was excited to bring his character back to television. "The response to '24' is unlike anything I have ever experienced as an actor before," Sutherland said in a statement. "To have the chance to reunite with the character, Jack Bauer, is like finding a lost friend. The story ideas from [producer] Howard Gordon are exciting and fresh, and will not disappoint...Make no mistake, my goal is to knock your socks off."

24 returns to Fox next May, so stay tuned and get ready! 

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