Jack Bauer gets early start with "24" prequel

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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Jack Bauer gets to save the world in the fall, after all.

The producers of Fox’s “24” are developing a two-hour “prequel” to the upcoming seventh season of the real-time thriller.

The movie, designed to bridge the two-year gap between Seasons 6 and 7, is targeted to air in the fall, leading to the show’s January return.

“24” was one of the biggest casualties of the writers strike. Three days after the work stoppage began on November 5, Fox decided against airing a partial season of the serialized drama with the eight episodes produced before and during the first weeks of the walkout.

Each season of “24” is a closed arc that takes place in real time over a 24-hour period. The upcoming seventh season of the Emmy-winning series is set in Washington and features the first female U.S. president, played by Cherry Jones. Kiefer Sutherland stars as Jack Bauer, the government agent with a busy work day.

At the end of the writers strike three weeks ago, there were rumblings about a possible split of the seventh season into two parts to air in the fall and in midseason. But Fox was quick to put those rumors to rest, reiterating that the show’s scheduling pattern would remain intact with a January launch.

The “24” writing team is back at work, with production on the remaining episodes of the seventh season slated to begin in April. Missing from the writers room is the series co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow, who left at the end of the strike.

Fox and series producer 20th TV declined comment Wednesday.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter