First the good news. On a recent visit to the set of 24, your very own TV Addict (alongside a small group of fellow journalists) got to spend a good thirty minutes grilling the incredibly affable 24 executive producer writer hyphenates Manny Coto and Evan Katz on everything from which fan favorites might soon be following in Tony “Back from the Dead” Almeida’s really lucky footsteps to the twosomes take on what went wrong with season six. The bad news, I’m holding off on to all of those goodies (plus more!) until just before 24 returns in January. So for now, enjoy these five REDEMPTION related questions and don’t forget to tune into 24: REDEMPTION tonight on FOX at 8PM (Global TV in Canada)
How did the 24 Prequel come about?
Evan Katz: It’s an interesting story because the prequel came about directly because of the WGA Strike. Originally we were going to start season seven with Jack in Africa for three episodes and then do something the show had never done before; a time jump so that Jack could continue the adventure in America. We [the writers] all decided we didn’t want to break the show’s trademark 24 hour format so the idea was ultimately thrown out. But then when the strike hit, the studio was looking for a two hour movie to bridge the seasons and we had all this wonderful material to work with already at our disposal.
Prior to this season’s move to Washington D.C. there was a lot of talk about shaking things up by moving the show to New York. What made Washington D.C. possible?
Evan Katz: We’ve also talked about doing it in London.
Manny Coto: This year we talked about doing it in London actually.
Evan Katz: I think with the way we shoot 24, with many of the scripts being written as we go along, the production complications of doing the show in New York or London were simply too much. And in terms of D.C. we felt that there were enough exteriors where we could make Los Angeles look like D.C. that it would work.
Manny Coto: Next year it’s possible we’re going to do New York.
Evan Katz: Or London.
Manny Coto: Or Chadsworth.
Are you concerned about the unexpectedly long hiatus 24 has taken?
Manny Coto: Not really. I’ll tell you just having gone to Comic Con that if anything, the hiatus has actually helped and been a good thing. Season six wasn’t the best received season and there was definitely a bit of a fatigue factor.
Evan Katz: My mother liked it.
Manny Coto: I actually liked it and thought there was some great stuff. But I think that in a way the show’s built some interesting momentum. In fact, we’re thinking of pushing the show back another year!
Evan Katz: Yeah! (Laughing)
Manny Coto: If people are this excited now, imagine how excited they’ll be after a three year break!
Evan Katz: But in all seriousness. Part of the reason for the prequel is to provide the audience with something, at least until the show returns in January.
Does the prequel help in setting up a lot of the backstory for the new season?
Manny Coto: The prequel actually turned out to be somewhat of a happy accident because it really set some things up. With 24: REDEMPTION, we were really able to dramatize the President’s backstory which as we start season seven is very much a good thing.
Can you talk about the decision to make the new President a woman?
Evan Katz: Much in the same way we never made David Palmer’s Presidency about him being an African American, Allison Taylor’s Presidency isn’t about being a woman. She’s a woman because it was the next interesting choice we could think of. We’ve done America’s first black President and an evil President so a woman simply seemed like the most interesting choice.