The new 12-episode 24 event series, titled 24: Live Another Day, will likely launch in early May 2014 running into the summer, Fox‘s entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly said during an upfront conference call this morning. The original idea to continue 24 was as a feature, which died after 24 showrunner Howard Gordon and his team concluded that “24 being compressed into two hours is not 24,” Reilly said. But after Fox announced its event series push six months ago, Gordon sparked to the idea of resurrecting 24 that way. The 12-hour version will keep the real-time nature of the original series, skipping some hours in the 24-hour period it covers. That would actually benefit the show, Reilly said, noting that 24 producers always felt that the spine of each season of 24 were 12 episodes containing major events, with the other 12 providing connective tissue. “Now we’ll get the best part,” Reilly said. While Fox envisions its limited series as stand-alone, one-time events, some, including 24, could become franchises with multiple installments though it is unlikely to have a new 24 every year.
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Next May, 24: Live Another Day, exec produced by Gordon, Sutherland and Brian Grazer, will likely be paired with new Fox drama series Gang Related. 24 is slated to kick off Fox’s event series franchise, followed by M. Night Shyamalan’s Wayward Pines, eyed for a launch in fall 2014. The scheduling of the three programs is an example of Fox’s transition to year-round programming, Reilly said. “We try to break out the confines of the traditional broadcast season.” As part of that, Fox is splitting the Thursday 9 PM slot next season between Glee in the fall, Rake in midseason and Glee returning in late spring with a “creative twist,” airing into summer. Rake will get a big launch behind Fox’s coverage of the NFC Championship Game. Reilly also will be doing more series with non-traditional, shorter orders, like Rake and The Following, and wants to “strike midseason from the lexicon” as the only other time to launch new shows besides fall, instead opting to “stagger (debuts) throughout the year.”
Reilly wouldn’t comment on any American Idol judge departures beyond Randy Jackson, who recently announced his exit, but indicated that the judging panel will likely be paired down next season to three members. He also put the blame for the show’s declining ratings this season mostly on the format, which included expanded middle rounds that he believes killed ratings momentum. “The format will have fresh twists for next season,” he said, noting that current judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are welcome back.” But everything at this point is on the table.”
Fox recently renewed Glee for two more seasons, but Reilly wouldn’t commit to them being the show’s last. To get longer uninterrupted runs before the fall baseball preemptions start, both Glee and The X Factor will kick off their seasons two weeks before the official start of the broadcast season.