Last season, Fox's 24 garnered high critical praise but low Nielsen ratings. Might its 10 recent Emmy nominations including nods for outstanding drama and lead actor Kiefer Sutherland boost its viewership this fall? "I sure hope so," exec producer Robert Cochran himself a writing nominee tells TV Guide Online. "That's all you can say."
Well, not quite. "Yeah, we're a little disappointed [by the ratings]," he adds, "but I think we're disappointed at least in part because of the expectations that were raised. If you look at our timeslot [Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET] and who we were up against... If when the season started, people had said, 'You're going to have a show that's going to go up against Frasier, NYPD Blue and two new hits on other channels, but you're going to finish a very solid third and sometimes second in that timeslot' people would've been thrilled.
"But given the amount of hype that accompanied the pilot," Cochran sighs, "people were disappointed the ratings weren't better. So, we wish the ratings were higher. But if you look at the competition, we felt, in truth, we didn't do too badly."
Speaking of competitors, who will be 24's biggest rival come Emmy night? "They're all big competition," he laughs. "There were shows that weren't nominated that I would've considered big competition. I'm proud to be in that company."
While Cochran's "thrilled" for Sutherland a smash hit as lawman Jack Bauer he's sad that fan fave Leslie Hope couldn't go out with an Emmy nod. "We liked her," he says of the thesp, who played long-suffering Mrs. Teri Bauer. "We struggled and agonized over [killing Teri off] and just thought, on the whole, we're better off going in a new direction. Leslie did a great job and she's a great person. I really mean that."
Cochran refused to reveal any of next season's secrets, pleading: "I'd be
shot if I gave anything away!" Fortunately, Fox entertainment president
Gail Berman had more to say Sunday at the Television Critics
Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif.
"I'm not going to give away all our secrets," she told reporters, "but
here's a clue: Kiefer's character, Jack Bauer, has gone through a huge
change in the past year. After Teri's murder yes, Teri is dead
Jack and his daughter Kim are estranged and he has left CTU. However,
just as his entire world is crumbling, Jack gets a call from David Palmer
now President Palmer who needs Jack's help for yet
another perilous day."
Plus, look for another woman actress Sarah Wynter, who's been
cast as wealthy Kate Warner to take Teri's place as "Jack's potential
new love interest."