Now that the “24” band of creators are back together, they’re busy at work on developing two new versions of the show simultaneously for Fox — either of which could ultimately make it on the air.
Original “24” executive producers Howard Gordon, Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran are back together and mapping out a new version of the show that Gordon said would be in the vein of the original series (i.e., an action adventure set in the world of counter-intelligence).
That’s in addition to a previously announced variation on the “24” real-time format, but set in the legal arena. Gordon is working on the “24” law show with Jeremy Doner (“The Killing”) — but Surnow and Cochran (the original co-creators of “24”) may ultimately be involved in that one too. 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV continue to be involved as the franchise’s respective studio and production company.
“We’re pursuing both tracks simultaneously,” Gordon told IndieWire. “We’re kicking both around, and [Surnow and Cochran] will be involved with anything they have the patience and energy for.”
He added that the two tracks aren’t mutually exclusive. “It is a format that we still believe is a great way to tell a story,” Gordon said. “I’m re-watching with my 13-year-old now, and it’s amazing to see that it still works. I’ll look back and forget most of what happened and go, ‘wow, that was really good!'”
Gordon isn’t ready to share the plot for the new take on original recipe “24,” but Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden told reporters in May that the network was “pretty excited” about their idea. “It’s premature, it’s too early to announce it, but they’ve been working and ideating around where the show wants to live next,” she said.
It was Fox that suggested to Gordon that he reunite with Surnow and Cochran, who have mostly been taking a break in recent years, to see about recapturing the magic of the original series.
“We’re all still friends,” he said. “I see Joel socially and it came about through a casual conversation. It was prompted by Fox and they had some thoughts. And Joel and I started talking about it. One idea aroused our curiosities officially to have a second conversation. We’ve been taking a couple of runs at it. It’s still a process and it’s still in development. But it’s hard to say. We hope to get at something sooner rather than later, but it’s been humbling.”
Gordon said the three of them are conscious of not being “the band that has outlived its welcome.”
“We’re very mindful of not doing it just to do it,” he said. “Just as a piece of business. I think we feel close enough to the show so that we are trying to find a way that makes it worth doing and not just to do it for the sake of doing it. And that’s challenging, but we’re definitely putting our heads together.”
“24” initially aired from 2001 to 2010. The show returned four years later with “24: Live Another Day,” a limited series that brought back Jack Bauer. Then came the sequel series “24: Legacy,” which ran in 2017. Like that show, any new “24” series would likely be 13 episodes — rather than the 24-episode behemoth seasons that the original series produced.
“I think our attention span as a culture has gotten shorter,” Gordon said. “We’re competing with too many things. That was a moment in time that I don’t think will find its way back. ‘Real-time’ becomes the operative world.”
(Also, like “24: Legacy,” original franchise star Kiefer Sutherland is not expected to appear in a new version of the franchise.)
As for the legal “24” still in the works, Deadline wrote last fall that that script “centers on a female prosecutor who uncovers a legal conspiracy and has to work against the clock to save a death row inmate facing imminent execution whom she had helped prosecute but may be innocent.”