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May 15, 2008

'24' writers to quit making it up as they go along

For next year's long-awaited return of "24," the writers strike has given the show's producers a chance to address a major complaint from fans and critics about the previous season: the lack of story planning.

At Fox's upfront, "24" star Kiefer Sutherland told ad buyers that for once, the writers firmly know exactly where Jack Bauer's day is headed.

"None of us at '24' took for granted the significance of this upcoming season," Sutherland said. "The writers actually took the time to create a map of the entire season before we started shooting. We never had the time to do it before."

And probably won't ever again. At the Fox afterparty, entertainment chairman Peter Liguori said even if the next season is a great success, given the time constraints of the typical production cycle that the pre-outlined season is "pretty much a one-time event."

Of course, all shows are largely invented episode by episode. ABC's "Lost" famously launched without the writers knowing what exactly the monster in the jungle was. Yet for an intensely serialized and intricately plotted show like "24," the seams begin to show when, say, a heroic character suddenly turns evil and their  previous behavior makes no sense. Sutherland says the advance preparation has helped the show.

" Season 7, I know for a fact, will be the best season of '24,' " he said.


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