24 coming to a theatre near you

24 is becoming a movie. Variety reports that Fox has signed creators Robert Cochran and Joel Surnow, and my old friend Howard Gordon, to write the movie, which will be produced by Brian Grazer.

Execs at 20th should have a draft of the script in their hands by early winter, insiders said. Once they see the script — and look at ratings for the first few episodes of season six, which kicks off in January — they’ll be able to make a decision on greenlighting production of the film.

Under the most optimistic scenario, feature would be greenlit early next year and lense next spring and summer during the hiatus between season six and a likely seventh season of "24."

Current plan calls for the "24" feature to abandon the real-time conceit of the TV show, making Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, rather than the clock, the star.

This success of 24 couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys. I only know Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran casually… we all worked on shows for Steve Cannell at the same time so we bumped into each other a lot in the Cannell building and prepping shows up in Vancouver.  But Howard Gordon and I have known each other for twenty years.

I still remember when Howard was running both a fax delivery business and a SAT preparation course out of his Venice apartment. Two of his SAT instructors were Conan O’Brien and Greg Daniels, showrunner of THE OFFICE…who were writing partners and working on NOT NECESSARILY THE NEWS.

Howard and his then-writing partner Alex Gansa and Bill Rabkin & I all started out at the same time as freelancers on SPENSER FOR HIRE and grew up in the TV business together. 

Howard, Alex, Bill and I hung out a lot together during those earlier years but, as often happens, our lives got complicated and we saw each other less and less.  We all got busy on shows,  got married (though we all attended each others weddings), and three of us had kids. Now it’s been way too long since we’ve been in touch.  Even so, Bill and I carry on the tradition of naming a bad guy in every series we do "Gordon Gansa."

I’ve got to give Howard and Alex a call this week…

6 thoughts on “24 coming to a theatre near you”

  1. //Current plan calls for the “24” feature to abandon the real-time conceit of the TV show, making Sutherland’s Jack Bauer, rather than the clock, the star.//
    Clearly they’ve underestimated their fanbase’s willingness to sit in a movie theater for an entire day.

  2. While some movies can make decent TV series, why is it that studio execs continually forget that the reason shows are on television in the first place is because they weren’t good enough to be movies?
    Okay, you know I don’t really feel that way, but come on, some things just will not transfer to the big screen.
    Dukes of Hazzard, Mod Squad, Bewitched, Mission Impossible, Wild, Wild West, Mr. Magoo, Honeymooners, Charlie’s Angels, Flintstones, Avengers, Starsky & Hutch, Beverly Hillbillies, Addams Family, Little Rascals, Fugitive, Maverick, Scooby-Doo, George of the Jungle, Get Smart, I Spy, Lost in Space, McHale’s Navy, Dragnet, The Saint, X-Files, Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver… I’m sure I’ve forgotten some. And God help us we’re about to be subjected to movie versions of A-Team, Dallas, Father Knows Best, and Miami Vice.
    Now, how many of the above films actually made money? Four?And how many were truly good films? Two? Three?
    And I don’t want to hear someone say that it was the execution that caused the failures (think Will Smith and WWW) – I don’t buy that. I think the movie-going audience is a different animal entirely from the TV series audience, and the twains shall rarely meet. But what do I know?
    (Star Trek doesn’t count as it’s something unique unto itself)

  3. Or is it Star Trek doesn’t count because it disproves your point?
    A big difference between all those series you mentioned and ST is that ST used the original creators and stars to make the movie. That’s what 24 is planning to do.
    Being the die hard fan that I am, I will see a movie if it is made. However, it won’t be the same as the series. The series works because they have so long to tell their story and really delve into it. I think a movie version will just be another thriller movie, most of which fall flat. But we’ll have to see.
    (BTW, am I missing something? I remember hearing rumors of a Get Smart movie, but I didn’t think it ever actually came out?)

  4. There was a Get Smart movie starring Don Adams, 1980’s The Nude Bomb. A new feature version is in the works with Steve Carell, which seems like ideal casting.
    The pending 24 and Simpsons movies are interesting cases: how many other series have moved to the big screen while still going concerns on TV? The X-Files is the only one that comes to mind, and I always thought that the movie hastened the show’s demise. It forced fans to pay for what they had previously watched for free, and if you didn’t see the movie you were bewildered when events from it were referred to in the series. Unless you’d already given up on The X-Files by that point like I had, in which case you had no intention of seeing the movie. It raises the question of how broad the appeal of such a film can be.
    I had this problem with Serenity, the feature version of Firefly. So many people recommended it, even ones who had never seen Joss Whedon’s show, that I felt compelled to check it out. But for all Whedon’s skill, the movie came across like an episode of a TV show that I didn’t watch, so I never warmed to it.

  5. Didn’t someone already make this movie with Michael Douglas starring with Kiefer Sutherland? “The Sentinel”, right? (Just kidding, Kiefer Sutherland is actually the only commonality between “The Sentinel” and “24”, IMO)!
    I’d love to see a “24” movie ~~ Hubby just said: “Better get the refillable popcorn…”)

  6. //how many other series have moved to the big screen while still going concerns on TV?//
    Seems to be more common with animated shows like “South Park” and various kids’ shows-turned-movies.
    Oh, and William Dozier’s “Batman”. Mustn’t forget that.


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