'24' To End This Spring

Fox drama will wrap for good May 24, with the conclusion of its 8th season

The final hour for 24
has been set for the end of the Fox drama's eighth season, which concludes with
a two-part finale May 24.

The decision, which the show's auspices have weighed for
months now, was unanimous and came after a series of conversations in recent
days among the stakeholders, according to 24
executive producer and showrunner Howard Gordon. The show, starring Keifer
Sutherland as Jack Bauer, is produced by Teakwood Lane Prods., Imagine
Television and 20th Century Fox Television. "It's bittersweet for
everybody," Gordon told B&C.
"It's been our home for a lot of people for a lot of our lives."

20th is reportedly open to shopping the show to another
network, but a studio spokesman would not comment on that. Gordon told B&C if 20th is shopping the show it
is "without my consent or knowledge, but it's Fox's property, so they can
do what they want with it. They haven't come to me with it."

Leading up to the decision to end the show on Fox, the
producers and the network have been examining how to balance the economic
realities of producing one of the more expensive shows in primetime in the face
of ratings erosion; and Gordon and the other writers have been examining
whether they felt the need to tell more stories in the real-time format of the
Emmy-winning Monday night series.

24 may live on in
other forms, with a feature film looking like the likeliest possibility.
Screenwriter Billy Ray has been tapped to write a feature, and Gordon says he
has been a "hand maid" to the film project. He hopes to "have
something soon for Fox to assess" regarding the film project. It will not
take place in real time, rather over the course of a single day. Gordon calls a
feature adaptation of 24 "a very
natural opportunity and very natural franchise," adding, "James Bond,
Jason Bourne, Jack Bauer, they're all up there in the Pantheon of great

"I feel extremely emotional, grateful and relieved," Gordon
says of the decision to end the series. He describes running the show as being
like "climbing a mountain you can't believe you will scale and when you get to
the top you're so tired you fall asleep. Then you wake up back at the bottom of
the mountain."

The team is still shooting the last couple hours of the
series, about which Gordon says he feels a sense of accomplishment: "It's weird
to have gotten there with no mountain looming."

The drama has been a proven performer for Fox, ranking among
the Top 15 broadcast dramas among adults 18-49 every season it has aired. In
its last four seasons, it's been in the Top 10. In its eighth season to date,
however, ratings have slipped year-to-year by 16%; 24 is averaging a 3.8 rating
in 18-49/9 share this year. Of course, several other top-rated primetime
dramas, including CSI and Desperate Housewives, are also down by
double digits this season.