Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly confirmed Monday, in a conference call with reporters to discuss the network's 2013-14 strategy, that the Kiefer Sutherland thriller "24" will return in May 2014 as "24: Live Another Day," a 12-hour "event series" that will run into the summer of 2014 (and be followed by another event, "Wayward Pines," the previously announced project from M. Night Shyamalan).
A 12-hour "24"? How's that going to work?
They'll "skip hours," Reilly said. "It'll be dictated by the plot."
(Maybe Jack Bauer will finally get a bathroom break.)
"The spine" of a typical "24" season was really about 12 hours, when all the major plot points occurred, Reilly noted. (Yes, this explains the cougar. And the amnesia.) He said executive producer Howard Gordon realized while trying to put together a "24" movie that it would also be hard to compress the action of the series into two hours.
Sutherland, meanwhile, became available with Fox's cancellation of "Touch."
If the "event" approach works out, "24" might return periodically, Reilly said. "I don't know if it could be annual."
Other highlights of Fox's schedule, which it plans to unveil before advertisers in New York on Monday afternoon:
— It's ordered five new comedies and four new dramas for a season Reilly says will be more than ever a year-round approach, with series of varying lengths premiering throughout the year and sometimes continuing into -- or beginning in -- the summer.
— Three of those comedies and two of the dramas will premiere this fall.
— “New Girl” will get the post-Super Bowl slot, along with "a player to be named later," likely one of the new comedies.
— “Bones,” entering its ninth season, is on the move again, starting out in its current 8 p.m. Monday slot in the fall, then moving to 8 p.m. Fridays in the “late fall.” Reilly said he expects it to "outperform" there.
— There's no confirmation that any more judges beyond Randy Jackson will be leaving "American Idol," but Reilly said it's "likely" there will only be three on board when the show returns in January. He blames the age of the show, and the format, for most of the recent ratings dropoff and promised format changes.
— New fall comedies include: “Dads,” the first live-action show from Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy,” “American Dad,” starring Giovanni Ribisi and Philadelphia’s Seth Green as co-founders of a successful video-game compamy whose lives are upended by their fathers (Martin Mull and Peter Riegert); “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a comedy set in a police precinct that pairs Andy Samberg (“Saturday Night Live”) and Andre Braugher (“Homicide: Life on the Street”); and “Enlisted,” a comedy about three brothers that’s set on an Army base.
— New fall dramas include: “Sleepy Hollow,” a modern-day retelling of the story of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison), “resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction and that he is humanity's last hope”; and “Almost Human,” from J.J. Abrams (“Fringe,” “Star Trek”), a drama set 35 years in a future in which cops are partnered with androids.
— Kids from 8 to 13 will be in the kitchen in the tentatively titled "Junior Masterchef," a spinoff of Gordon Ramsay's "Masterchef" that Reilly said has "popped" in other countries. Let's hope Ramsay can make it through an episode without screaming. Or being bleeped.
Here's a look at Fox's schedule so far:
FOX 2013-2014 SCHEDULE
(All Times ET/PT)
8:00-9:00 PM BONES (fall) / ALMOST HUMAN (new; late fall)
9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW (new; fall) / THE FOLLOWING (midseason)
8:00-8:30 PM DADS (new)
8:30-9:00 PM BROOKLYN NINE-NINE (new)
9:00-9:30 PM NEW GIRL
9:30-10:00 PM THE MINDY PROJECT
8:00-10:00 PM THE X FACTOR (fall) / AMERICAN IDOL (midseason)
8:00-9:00 PM THE X FACTOR Results (fall) / AMERICAN IDOL Results (midseason)
9:00-10:00 PM GLEE (fall) / RAKE (new; midseason)
8:00-9:00 PM JUNIOR MASTERCHEF (wt) (new; fall)
9:00-10:00 PM SLEEPY HOLLOW encores (fall)
8:00-9:00 PM BONES (late fall)
9:00-9:30 PM RAISING HOPE (late fall)
9:30-10:00 PM ENLISTED (new; late fall)
7:00-10:30 PM FOX SPORTS SATURDAY
11:00 PM-12:30 AM ANIMATION DOMINATION HIGH-DEF
7:00-7:30 PM NFL Game (fall)
7:30-8:00 PM THE OT (fall)
8:00-8:30 PM THE SIMPSONS
8:30-9:00 PM BOB’S BURGERS
9:00-9:30 PM FAMILY GUY
9:30-10:00 PM AMERICAN DAD