"24" falls victim to writers strike

Thu Nov 8, 2007 4:00am EST

A scene from the television show ''24'' in an undated image. As the writers strike entered its third day Wednesday with no end in sight, Fox said it would not air ''24'' this season. REUTERS/Fox/Handout

A scene from the television show ''24'' in an undated image. As the writers strike entered its third day Wednesday with no end in sight, Fox said it would not air ''24'' this season.

Credit: Reuters/Fox/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - As the writers strike entered its third day Wednesday with no end in sight, Fox said it would not air "24" this season.

The seventh season of the hit real-time series was scheduled to begin in January, but producers had completed only about one-third of its 24-episode order as of last week.

"It's not a decision we wanted to make, but it's one based on how we feel the viewers expect us to schedule the show," said Preston Beckman, Fox's scheduling chief.

The decision to act quickly so early in the strike also was prompted by the large amounts of marketing money associated with the premieres of new series and the annual launch of "24." The network began airing promos for the upcoming season of "24" during the World Series and on a big screen in Times Square.

"Had we delayed executing and implementing of a strike schedule, it could've cost us a lot of money," Beckman said.

"24" started production late, and was affected by the recent wildfires. The show's star, Kiefer Sutherland, is also scheduled to do a stint in jail later this year in connection with a drunk-driving conviction.

The high-profile new drama "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," originally slated to run in tandem with "24," will now premiere on Sunday, January 13, and will air in "24's" Monday 9 p.m. slot, following "Prison Break" and the reality series "When Women Ruled the World."

"Women," about educated and independent women ruling over a group of unsuspecting men, is one of two reality series Fox is planning to launch midseason, along with "The Moment of Truth," a show featuring people being administered a lie detector test to be hosted by Mark L. Walberg.

With "House" running out of original episodes, "Hell's Kitchen" will land the plum post-"American Idol" Tuesday 9 p.m. slot beginning April 1.

Fox's midseason schedule also includes new scripted series "The Return of Jezebel James," "Unhitched," "New Amsterdam" and "Canterbury's Law."

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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