Will '24' return for a revival 20 years after Jack Bauer's debut?

Could Jack Bauer return for a rebooted '24', two decades on from his debut?
Could Jack Bauer return for a rebooted '24', two decades on from his debut?

The following takes place between the top of this page and the bottom of this page...

It’s difficult to remember a TV landscape without Jack Bauer.

The main character of action drama '24', which turns 20 years old on 6 November, strapped viewers into their armchairs and forced them into a world of political intrigue, CTU moles, terror plots and countless torture scenes.

And all set to a ticking clock.

The real-time setting of '24' was what initially made the show stand out, but it was so much more than its orange digital numbers and split screens.

Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in the first season of '24', broadcast in 2001. (Fox)
Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer and Dennis Haysbert as Senator David Palmer in Season 1 of '24'. (Fox)

This was a drama with so much urgency it took an entire week in between episodes to get your breath back.

We live in the era of the binge watch, but that wasn’t possible two decades ago, not until each series of '24' had already aired and the DVD box set went up for grabs.

For a real-time thriller, it was torturous to be drip fed the drama.

The first ever episode of the show aired in the US on 6 November 2001 - and the timing was crucial.

Broadcast just two months after 9/11, '24' tackled the terror threat on US soil, and audiences lapped it up.

The show made a star again of Kiefer Sutherland, who imbued Bauer with a steely determination to get the job done whatever the cost.


Why did Harry Potter never win an Oscar?

How Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' almost had a different name

The actors who almost played Jack and Rose in 'Titanic'

Sutherland has played the role through nine seasons and a movie (Season 5 is generally perceived to be the pinnacle), but hasn’t stepped into Bauer’s shoes since 2014’s '24: Live Another Day', a London-set series in which the usual episode tally was cut down in half to 12.

Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) up against the clock in Season 1 of '24'. (Fox)

But even after 204 episodes, talk of more '24' rarely goes away, particularly after producers Fox were acquired by Disney.

In September, Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn said the door remains open for a new incarnation of '24'.

He told Deadline talks are under way to bring back '24' “in some form”.

The cast of
'24' cast members, from left, James Badge Dale, Kiefer Sutherland, Dennis Haysbert, Reiko Aylesworth and Carlos Bernard. (Getty)
Actor Kiefer Sutherland poses backstage after winning two Emmys, one for best actor in a drama series for his work in
Kiefer Sutherland won two Emmys for '24' in August 2006. (Reuters)

Thorn said: “There’s still a possibility, there’s still some discussions with the producers on a take that we have yet to hear.

“There are some active creative discussions that are happening.

"We always welcome celebrating our iconic shows and revisiting those with surprising takes and new approaches so, especially in this crowded market, we’re always open to reinventing our best IP with some of our favourite partners.”

Read more: '24' could be coming back with Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer

Sutherland seems keen for some kind of new '24'.

He told Forbes last year: "I've always left the door slightly ajar for '24' if someone comes up with a great idea.

“I’ve been banging my head against a brick wall for a movie for so long that I've got a concussion.

“Honestly, the form more '24' would take doesn't matter to me as much as the quality of the story.

“If someone comes up with a great story that can be told in two hours, then we're going to make a movie, but if someone comes up with a great story that could be 24 hours, we'll do the show.”