Richard Burgi who had a role in the first fourteen episodes of 24 Season 1 revealed that he was originally cast in the role of Jack Bauer – but the network wanted a well-known actor to have the leading role and they cast Kiefer Sutherland in the part instead.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of The Sentinel, you were once on 24, and now Kiefer Sutherland has a movie out called The Sentinel.
Burgi: I know! I’m not taking it personally, but it’s very interesting to see that title on the marquees and to see the ads.
TVGuide.com: I consider your 24 character — Alan York, the “worried father” who “helped” Teri Bauer find Kim during Season 1 — a seminal one, as he was the first to show us that no one on this show can be taken at face value.
Burgi: Right, right. It was a nice character arc. Originally, I was kept in the dark and then they finally told me what was going on. I had a lot of fun with that show…. Eh, that’s a long story, I’m not going to bore you with the details.
TVGuide.com: What happened, you got killed off sooner than you would have liked?
Burgi: No, no, no. Actually, the producers had wanted me for that show, but the network wanted Kiefer [as the lead], so….
TVGuide.com: Having been there on Day 1, could you tell 24 had legs?
Burgi: You know, the same thing happened with Desperate Housewives: I really didn’t think anything other than what we were doing was interesting. I liked the 24 script, which is why I was so passionate about it. When Kiefer got the role, [series cocreator] Joel Surnow called me and said, “I’m really sorry. But we’d still like to have you be a part of the show.” They offered me the role of Alan York and I said, “Yep! Love it!” And then when I saw where they were going with it, I thought, “This could go either way. It could be really, really dark and taken down a rough road and be on the receiving end of criticism about its content, or it could break new ground.”