Jack Bauer may finally hit the big screen. Though Fox has yet to decide whether to pick up a ninth season of 24, an insider confirmed that the film side is in talks with Billy Ray (State of Play) to write a screenplay for the franchise. Word is the scribe came in and pitched his version of the flick.
Any movement on a film may hinge upon the show’s future with the network; Fox toppers Peter Rice and Kevin Reilly will likely want to see how the show performs over the next few weeks before deciding whether to commit to another season of Bauer racing the clock. Through Jan. 31, 24 is down versus last year by 10% in total viewers (11.9 million versus 13.3 million) and by 15% in adults 18-49 (3.9 versus 4.6). The drama remains Fox’s third-most watched show behind American Idol and House.
A decision is needed soon; a source close to the show said the producers are preparing to write the 23rd and 24th episodes of the current season so they need to know whether to pen a series finale. Production on the drama is scheduled to wrap March 24.
In January, star Kiefer Sutherland told EW that he’d love to do a movie (“It would be a two-hour representation of a day”) and thinks the TV show can actually be done at the same time. ”I actually tried to convince a few people of this. In a media world that is changing unbelievably fast, a television series can either act as a great trailer for a film, or a film can act as a great trailer for a television series. And I think the first person who actually does that is going to change the way television interacts with feature films.
“I think the resistance to it is because, in my father’s generation, if you did films, you didn’t even think about television,” Sutherland continued. “That was a death knell. And if you did television, you wouldn’t be allowed to do films. That was when we had three networks. We have six hundred now, and if I want to see Paul Newman in a movie, I don’t have to go out. And so the game has changed. And I think we’re going to have to adjust with it.” – With additional reporting from Nicole Sperling