It’s a secret, last-second twist worthy of Jack Bauer: NBC is reportedly angling to poach the drama series “24” from rival FOX.
FOX and 20th Century Fox TV, which produces “24,” are currently negotiating a license fee for renewal of the thriller, which stars Kiefer Sutherland as counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer. The show’s current license agreement expires after this season.
At the 11th (or 23rd, maybe, in this case) hour, though, NBC has made it known that it would love to bring a fifth season of the series of the show to its airwaves. “I can tell you that NBC has not been shy about expressing their interest in ’24,'” a source who requested anonymity tells the New York Post.
NBC’s reported interest comes despite the fact that the network and studio are both units of News Corp. (as is the Post), which would seem to make the Peacock’s odds of wresting the series from FOX pretty slim. Even disregarding the corporate connection, it seems unlikely that FOX would let one of its better-performing series go.
Nearly 12 million people per week are watching “24,” which unfolds in real time over the course of 24 hours, this season, a marked improvement over last season’s average of 10.2 million. The jump is even more impressive considering that “24” had ratings juggernaut “American Idol” as a lead-in for much of last season, whereas this year it’s had to be more of a self-starter.
The broadcast networks are less than two weeks from announcing their 2005-06 lineups at the upfronts; NBC’s presentation is scheduled for Monday, May 16, with FOX’s set for three days later.