24 RETURNS —- (Via Deadline) During Fox’s upfront press call in May, Fox TV Group chairman Dana Walden revealed that former 24 executive showrunner Howard Gordon is working with 24 co-creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran on a possible new incarnation of the real-time drama. Walden would not elaborate on what the new premise is but noted that “we are very excited about where the show would go.”
I have learned that where the potential new installment would go is to the past. I hear the new 24 series, now in active development, will serve as a prequel to the original 2001 series. Written by Gordon, Cochran and Surnow, it is said to be in the vein of the original and will trace the origin story of CTU agent Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland on 24 for eight seasons and on follow-up limited series 24: Live Another Day.
The Fox network had been discussing new ideas for a 24 series since the end of 24: Legacy in 2017. The prequel is one of two 24 reboot ideas that are being developed.
Sutherland had indicated that he might be done playing the physically demanding role of Bauer, who’s always on the run, putting his life on the line to thwart another terrorist threat. Doing a prequel would allow Fox to bring back a beloved character without putting Sutherland through the grind of an action drama series again (It’s worth noting that 24 produced 24 episodes in each of its eight seasons, plus a movie).
NBC and EuropaCorp recently did a TV series prequel to the Taken movie franchise with a younger version of the character played by Liam Neeson in the films, which was developed by a TV writer-producer. The 24 situation is different as the potential prequel series is being developed by the same creative brain trust — Gordon, Surnow and Cochran — that led the original series to a drama series Emmy, and all three of them know the Jack Bauer character inside and out. (The series also earned Sutherland an Emmy.) This is somewhat reminiscent of CBS’ Young Sheldon prequel series, which hails from The Big Bang Theory team of Chuck Lorre and Steve Molaro.
24 was the first recent drama to get a revival treatment in the form of a limited series with 2014’s 24: Live Another Day. It was followed by NBC’s Heroes Reborn and Fox’s Prison Break and The X-Files.
TIMELESS RETURNS — Timeless fans will finally get some closure. NBC has ordered a two-part series finale of the Sony Pictures TV-produced time-travel series to air during the holidays.
“While we wish we could’ve made another dozen seasons of Timeless, this is the next best thing,” said Timeless creators/executive producers Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke said. “We’re thrilled to take the Lifeboat out for one last spin and bring closure to our story. The studio, network, cast and crew are all doing this for one reason only: the fans. Because they deserve it. Because the fans made this happen and we thank them for their passion, support and helicopters. So? You guys want to get Rufus back or what?”
In the simply spectacular Season 2 ender, Wyatt (Matt Lanter) and Lucy (Abigail Spencer) return from their latest mission without their trusted engineer Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), who was killed. But in a last-second twist, an upgraded Lifeboat shows up with future versions of Wyatt and Lucy (dressed to kill) emerging to ask, “You guys want to get Rufus back or what?”
Timeless was canceled by NBC for the second time last month though the network and Sony TV continued to discuss doing a two-hour movie that would resolve the cliffhanger in the Season 2 finale and wrap the stories on the show.
The studio already had tried shopping Timeless to other potential buyers ahead of the series’ official cancellation by NBC. Those efforts were unsuccessful, with Kripke telling fans on Twitter that “I think this 2 hour movie is our best shot. We’re ready to make it if @nbc really wants it,” and Ryan cautioning that “there are considerable economic obstacles that make it an uncertainty.”
While making the economics work was difficult, NBC remained interested in a finale special. Doing movie finales is very expensive as it involves ramping up production and reassembling a team with little financial upside for the series’ network or studio. The economics are especially challenging on broadcast TV; the only series that has done it in the past decade or so was CBS’ CSI, which already had made a ton of money, spawning a billion-dollar franchise for sibling CBS TV Studios. On SVOD, Netflix recently did it with its cult sci-fi drama series Sense8. Doing the finale as a two-parter could slightly ease the burden.
“We’re excited to tell one final chapter to this incredible story,” said
NBC. “A huge thank you to all – our cast, crew, producers and partners at Sony – who have worked so very hard, and to the fans who kept us on our toes and made sure we did our very best week after week.”
Created, written and executive produced by Kripke & Ryan, Timeless launched with a mysterious criminal stealing a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. It then was up to a soldier (Matt Lanter), a history professor (Abigail Spencer) and a scientist (Malcolm Barrett) to use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit co-star.
I’m glad this is happening, but I found the show (both seasons) just terrifically well-written, well-acted and quite compelling. From the episode that showcased the JFK- assassination to the Hollywood-centric one, it was just so fresh and so-well done, that in my opinion, it should have come back as a full-some series. To be blunt: I think NBC blew it on this one.
COSTELLO/BACHARACH RETURNS — (via Roger Freidman/SHOWBIZ 411) You can’t keep a good legend down. Very famed composer Burt Bacharach has written three new songs with Elvis Costello for the latter’s new album, Look Now.
Even more amazingly, Bacharach plays piano on two of those tracks. Costello and Bacharach recorded and released a seminal album called Painted from Memory back in 1998, so this is a nice nod to that work.
That’s not all that’s interesting or special about Look Now, set for an October release. One song is co-written with Carole King, left over from the 20 year old soundtrack to the movie “Grace of My Heart.” Also, the first single from Look Now, called “Unwanted Number,” was also supposed to be from that soundtrack but was never recorded.
Look Now is the first new album recorded by Costello with his group, The Imposters, in a decade. From the first two tracks he’s released on YouTube, the album harkens back to his best work.
The singer has had a tough summer. He announced on July 6th that he was canceling the final six dates of a European tour to better recover from a recent surgery that had “defeated” a “small but very aggressive cancerous malignancy.”
The announcement caused an uproar. When I emailed him about it, Costello replied with expected cheekiness:
“Never imagined my simple cancellation notice would reach so many people.
Just went back to work a little too early.
I’ll be back annoying people in just a little while. E.C.”
That 1998 Painted From Memory was and remains a classic. When it was released (on Mercury Records) it scored some great reviews, but quickly disappeared. With all due respect to both artists, I think the combination of Castellaw and Bacharach was a bit too much to take and people just dismissed it.
“The House Is Empty Now” and “God Give Me Strength,” both from the album, were tremendous tracks. Bacharach, now 90, remains a vital force. Remembering this album also reminds me of Micky Dolenz’s tribute to Carole King, called King For A Day, released in 2010. Again, a classic.
SHORT TAKES — Micky Dolenz at the Benton County in Corvallis, Ohio Friday … Weather-permitting we’ll be at Jones Beach seeing Chicago and REO Speedwagon … Long Island’s Barnaby Bye this weekend at My Father’s Place … Mark Bego at Home Goods? Look for his Eat Like A Rock Star how-to tome to be available there starting in September … Alan Alda announced on Twitter yesterday that he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He jokes: “I’m no more demented than I was before.” But you know, Alda takes this seriously. He’s one of the best people around; lives on the Upper West Side and is a frequent fixture on the scene.” We’re sending great thoughts, the ubiquitous prayers and whatever he needs to him and wife Arlene. “I decided to let people know I have Parkinson’s to encourage others to take action. I was Diagnosed 3 and-a-half years ago, but my life is full. I act, I give talks, I do my podcast, which I love. If you get a diagnosis, keep moving! I take boxing lessons 3 days a week, play singles tennis twice a week, and take a mild pill – all Dr. recommended. I even juggle a little. And I’m not entering dementia. I’m no more demented than I was before. Maybe I should rephrase that. Really, I’m good.” …
NAMES IN THE NEWS —Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Scott Shannon; David Spero; Nicky James; Jane Blunkell; Angie Kristic; Brad Balfour; Donnie Kehr; Coatimundi; Keith Girard; Steve Leber; Richard Supa; Joe Perry; Mark Hudson; and, CFS.