Tuned In: Fox brings back '24' in 12-part miniseries


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Jack's back.

Fox plans to restart the clock on "24," bringing back the Kiefer Sutherland thriller four years after it was canceled. The revived "24: Live Another Day" will air as a 12-episode "event series" next May, part of Fox's efforts to revive the miniseries genre. Mr. Sutherland has agreed to reprise his role as Jack Bauer after efforts to bring "24" to the big screen failed. Executive producer Howard Gordon ("Homeland") also will return to shepherd the project; no additional casting has been announced.

Kevin Reilly, Fox Entertainment chairman, said on a conference call with reporters Monday that when the network announced plans for an event series -- the new name for 10-to-13-episode miniseries -- Mr. Gordon approached Fox about a limited-run season of "24."

"As he would design the seasons [in the past], the spine was really about 12 hours where the big events occurred with little twists and connective tissue in between," Mr. Reilly said, although during its run producers always talked about building each season six episodes at a time.

So how can "24" be "24" with only 12 episodes instead of 24 given its real-time, hour-by-hour conceit? The "24" miniseries will occur in real-time but will skip a few hours here and there so that it covers a full 24-hour period in just 12 hours.

"I really do not see this becoming an annual event," Mr. Reilly said. "It could come back but these event series are stand-alone with a beginning, middle and an end, shows that people can say, 'I don't have to follow it season to season.' Some of these could have franchiseability; they could have sequels."

Next May's "24" miniseries will be followed next summer by another miniseries, "Wayward Pines," about a secret service agent (Matt Dillon, "Crash") who drives to an Idaho town to find two missing agents only to go missing himself. "Pines" will be directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

A reboot of Carl Sagan's "Cosmos," produced by Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy") and hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, also will air in 2014.

Unlike most of the other TV networks, Fox didn't have a ton of cancellations to announce because the network ordered fewer new programs last year and most of those that did crash and burn did so before Christmas (think: "The Mob Doctor," "Ben and Kate"). Sophomore drama "Touch" also was canceled and reality show "Cops" will move to Spike TV.

The network's brightest new arrival in the 2012-13 TV season, "The Following," will return to its 9 p.m. Monday time slot at midseason in January.

Despite ratings declines, "American Idol" will be back on Wednesday and Thursday nights at midseason, but Mr. Reilly said the show's panel of judges likely will be reduced from four to three players to be named at a later date. Longtime judge Randy Jackson already has announced his departure.

"Raising Hope" will air as part of a new Friday comedy block in late fall. "Glee" will air a batch of episodes in the fall and then take a break until spring for a second batch of episodes that will air into early summer.

"Fox historically has experimented with different, novel scheduling techniques to try to break out of the confines of the traditional broadcast season," Mr. Reilly said. "Our goal is virtually year-round original programming and we get closer to that this year with the way we're scheduling the network and order patterns."

Some series will be traditional 22-episode orders, Mr. Reilly said, but others, like the 15-episode "The Following," will be shorter.

"There's no magic number," Mr. Reilly said. "We'll premiere shows and stagger them throughout the year and in late spring we'll arc into summer and then arc into fall."

Fox will air the Super Bowl next year and will slot a "New Girl" episode and another comedy to be named later after the game.

Here's Fox's fall schedule, with new series in bold:

Monday

8 p.m.: "Bones."

9 p.m.: "Sleepy Hollow": A modern re-telling of Washington Irving's classic finds Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen") resurrected after 250 years to discover the headless horseman is back, too, and on a murderous rampage in modern times.

Tuesday

8 p.m.: "Dads": Writer/producer Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy") finally gets a live-action sitcom on Fox. "Dads" follows two video game company founders in their mid-30s -- played by Seth Green ("Robot Chicken") and Giovanni Ribisi ("My Name Is Earl") -- whose friendship gets more complicated when their fathers -- played by Martin Mull and Peter Riegert -- get more involved in their lives.

8:30 p.m.: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine": "Parks and Recreation" writers/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur created this single-camera comedy about a hot-shot cop (Andy Samberg) and his rule-bound new captain (Andre Braugher).

9 p.m.: "New Girl."

9:30 p.m.: "The Mindy Project."

Wednesday

8 p.m.: "The X Factor."

Thursday

8 p.m.: "The X Factor" results show.

9 p.m.: "Glee."

Friday

8 p.m.: "Junior Masterchef": The judges from "Masterchef," including Gordon Ramsay, evaluate the cooking of contestants ages 8 to 13.

9 p.m.: Encores of "Sleepy Hollow."

Saturday

7 p.m. "Fox Sports Saturday."

Sunday

7:30 p.m.: "The O.T."

8 p.m.: "The Simpsons."

8:30 p.m.: "Bob's Burgers"

9 p.m.: "Family Guy."

9:30 p.m.: "American Dad."

Midseason on Fox

Fox already has scheduled some of its series for midseason; other programs will await fall show failure before they are assigned to a time period.

"Enlisted" (9:30 p.m. Friday, late fall): Three brothers -- played by Geoff Stults ("The Finder"), Chris Lowell ("Private Practice") and Parker Young ("Suburgatory") -- live on the same small Florida Army base in this single-camera comedy from Kevin Biegel ("Cougar Town") and Mike Royce ("Men of a Certain Age").

"Rake" (9 p.m. Thursday, midseason): Greg Kinnear stars as criminal defense lawyer Keegan Deane, who has zero filter, sort of like the lead character in "House." It's based on an Australian series and the pilot was directed by Sam Raimi ("Oz the Great and Powerful").

"Almost Human" (8 p.m. Monday, late fall): J.J. Abrams and the producers of "Fringe" re-team for a drama set 35 years in the future when cops are paired with humanlike androids. A wounded cop (Karl Urban, "Star Trek") gets paired with a discontinued robot (Michael Ealy, "Sleeper Cell") who has unexpected emotional responses.

"Gang Related": Drama about a former gang member (Ramon Rodriguez) who is a rising star in the LAPD Gang Task Force.

"Surviving Jack": This is a 1990s-set single-camera comedy about a blunt father (Christopher Meloni, "Law & Order: SVU") and his awkward teen son.

"Us & Them": Based on the Britcom "Gavin & Stacey," this single-camera comedy is about young lovers (Jason Ritter, "The Event," and Alexis Bledel, "Gilmore Girls") and the messed-up people in their lives. Jane Kaczmarek, Kurt Fuller and Kerri Kenney also star.

"Murder Police": An animated comedy about an inept detective and his colleagues.

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TV writer Rob Owen: rowen@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2582. Follow RobOwenTV on Twitter or Facebook.


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