Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer on 24’s Comeback

Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment
Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment

DEADLINE: What about 24‘s comeback as an event series at Fox? How did that come about?
GRAZER: The way it came about was Howard (Gordon), Kiefer (Sutherland) and I had been working on making 24 into a movie. We stayed on it but it never materialized in a movie form over concerns about moving the character of Jack Bauer so far outside of the original concept because of how much we loved the series. Meanwhile, Howard had a conversation with (Fox’s) Peter Rice, then they spoke with Kiefer, and, with help from (Fox’s) Kevin Reilly and (20th’s) Dana Walden, the project materialized as a 12-part event series for Fox. A lot of it was the unified synergy that lives inside News Corp that made this happen. And we were lucky that Kiefer wanted to do it because he does the role so well; he is on top of his game playing that character, a character that does things we all would love to do too but rules prevent us from doing.

DEADLINE: 24 introduced binge viewing before it even existed. What do you think about the changing viewing habits?
GRAZER: There is evidence that people do want to watch shows back to back — that’s why DVR use is so high. When you’re able to DVR something, people will watch more than one episode. This is natural for us as 24 was one of those shows where people waited for the DVD set to watch it. The spirit of the way people watched 24 seems to have caught on with the viewing habits on other shows. And serialized television is now more popular than it was when we launched 24.

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So what if you’re first? :S

Question for people who would be clued in to this – when roughly should we start seeing more information being released? I’m aware that filming is to start in January, and if so, when would the first trailer be released?

I know it’s all estimates/predictions at the moment, but just curious!

@Jack: Probably March, 2 months before the premiere.

FOX has the Super Bowl this year, so I would think that would be a great time to debut the first promo/trailer.

FOX has the Super Bowl I assume that’s when will most likely see something. Not a bad guess.

If they’re gonna make the Superbowl, they would need to begin filming in early January to have decent footage to tease with a mere three weeks later! I’m not worried when we see footage, but I would agree that FOX will hype this to the hilt… meaning the first full trailer around March or April.

The concerns over the movie straying too far from the format are justified, and were maybe the other reasons for the studio’s hesitation on the movie. I’m not worried either way now, I’ve moved on from the prospect of a ’24’ movie, it works better as a long-form storytelling device and that’s where it should stay… onward and upward to 2014!

Let’s hope they bring Mandy back for ‘Live Another Day’…

@Gerry Mander I agree with ya I think this mini-series is their way of making up for the movie. Plus there’s a possibility for a series of sequels to be followed by this first round. So I’m fine with 24 being a mini-series as long as there consistent with sequel follow ups. Even if the chose to do this as a mini-series it’ll still be good & possibly could turn into a long franchise. So I see this as a good thing I can move passed the movie as long as these things are on the table & it sounds like they definitely are. So this is a good thing in my opinion.

Also Howard Gordon said on twitter I believe that shooting 24 won’t start til Jan. So a teaser being ready by the super Bowl is very possible.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see FOX releasing some publicity photos / still shots from preliminary filming before the end of this calendar year. As for trailers / ads, I would bet money that FOX will run the first ones during the Super Bowl, just to get the word out on everyone’s radar. How much actual new filming is done by that time may not be that critical – they could easily craft the first ads using footage from the first 8 seasons and then insert 2-3 brief clips of Kiefer in new footage, much as how many networks rev up the interest for a new season premiere by showing scenes from the previous season as a “refresher”.

I also recall from past Kiefer interviews that “24” was often filming episodes in July-August for a January telecast. So, if the series airs in May, I would think they’ll begin filming some scenes in early December.

Besides the visual ads, I’m hoping to read more details about how the new series will work the real-time format and some clues on what the plotline, characters/cast and locations will be by September/October, when the regular TV “fall season” arrives. One would expect that all of those elements have to be resolved before any filming begins.

“We stayed on it but it never materialized in a movie form over concerns about moving the character of Jack Bauer so far outside of the original concept because of how much we loved the series. ”
Now we know why the 24 movie didn’t happen..but is it true ???

I’m not sure how to take Brian Grazer’s statement about the movie, because for a solid six months or so (late 2011 through spring 2012), they were extolling the virtues of the script!

But everything happens for a reason, things change, and I believe they were pushing for a ’24’ movie because up until a few months ago, it was believed the only way for ’24’ to continue was via the big screen treatment… but the limited series format was clearly a game-changer in that regard, and they discovered a way to keep ’24’ going whilst maintaining the long-form storytelling format that is the saga’s natural state.

I’m okay with that seeming sea change in attitude and outlook, I’ve really come around to the notion proliferated by some that ’24’ isn’t really suited to a feature film medium, it’s a creature of television, and that’s where it should stay if it is to continue. I’m thoroughly stoked about ‘Live Another Day'(even moreso if Mandy makes a return), the movie idea seems antiquated and somewhat archaic now, a twelve-episode limited series has the very real potential to be all killer and no filler and with feature-quality prosuction values to boot… plus we’re getting over ten hours of Jack Bauer kickin’ butt as opposed to two hours had the movie happened, what’s not to get excited about right there!?

oops, meant to say PRODUCTION values not prosuction, typo there…

I’m really excited, and I can’t agree with you more : better 12 hours of Jack than 2 hours, and in 12 hours they will have time to develop characters, relationships, mixing action scenes with more intimate scenes, and the 12 hours format will prevent from having silly scenes as jack attacking a supermaket or a cougar bitting someone :)
And I hope for you the beautiful Mandy will be back…

A little off-topic but while watching a recent documentary about Watergate, I couldn’t help but think from some of the film footage of Nixon that Greg Itzin patterned a lot of Logan after Nixon – not just the obvious corrupt angle but in simple mannerisms of tilting his head sideways when speaking for emphasis and using big sweeping motions of his arms when waving/saluting spectators.

As for wish lists for ’24’ alumni appearances:

“YES” list is any of Chloe, Tony, Kate Warner, Ethan Kanin, Tim Woods, Aaron Pierce, Lynn Kresge, Noah Daniels and – if even possible – Logan.

“NO” list is none of Kim, Mike Novick, Wayne Palmer, Allison Taylor, Suvarov, Brian Hastings and Morris.