Preview: Jack Foley
FANS of the real-time drama, 24, will have to wait with baited
breath to see the third series of the excellent thriller, as negotiations
between Fox and BBC Two have broken down, paving the way for other
UK broadcasters to bid for the show.
The show, which features Kiefer Sutherland as government agent,
Jack Bauer, has amassed a dedicated cult following, following
the first two seasons in which the character first had to save
a presidential candidate from assassination, and then the city
of Los Angeles, from a nuclear bomb.
The third series, which has reportedly failed to attract as many
viewers in America, is said to feature Bauer in another race against
time to save LA from a deadly virus.
A spokesman for the BBC commented: "We know viewers will
be disappointed that the BBC and Fox have not been able to agree
a deal over the rights to the third series.
"After long negotiations we were unable to agree scheduling
and timescales that meet the needs of both parties."
The hot favourite to land the show, instead, is Channel 5, which
already shows highly-rated US dramas, such as CSI, The Shield
and Boomtown, but Channel Four (which boasts Friends
and ER in its US line-up) or Sky One could be other potential
bidders (the latter, of course, would mean bad news for terrestrial
In other 24 news, concern has been mounting in America over the
latest series, after it suffered a ratings dip after its first
The opening episode of the show's third series apparently lost
two million viewers, when compared with its second season debut,
a dip programme bosses are blaming on the change of 'lead in'
programme before it.
Joe Millionaire has been far less popular with viewers than
American Idol, which aired before the second season of 24, prompting
the show's executive producer, Brian Grazer, to reassure viewers
that the third season of his real-time drama was even better than
the tense second.
That said, reviews of season three's opener have been less than
favourable, with many fans expressing disappointment at the start.
According to several online sites, the story begins three years
after the events of the second season, as a corpse, which has
succumbed to a lethal and highly contagious toxin, is dumped in
a very public location.
A demand is then made, that if a notorious drug kingpin is not
freed from jail, the deadly virus will be widely released.
Jack Bauer, who now runs a special field operations division
for the Counter Terrorist Unit, sets off on the trail of this
viral threat, which is nothing short of a ticking time bomb.
Other developments include a less-trusting president, still scarred
from the attempt on his life at the end of season three, and a
higher-profile for Kim Bauer, who is now a CTU agent, and dating
Jack's new partner.
UK fans can only wait, surf and hope to catch some glimpse of
the new season once the bidding war has died down. If not, then
there's always likely to be the DVD box set...