Joel Surnow by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage.com
co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow is leaving the Emmy-winning drama effective immediately, says the
. Surnow served as an executive producer on the first eight episodes of the strike-struck seventh season, but will not be creatively involved in the series going forward. Though Surnow's deal with 20th Century Fox TV wasn't up until April 30, this week he asked for and was granted an early release. "Joel created one of the landmark series of this decade in 24
and his contribution to its creative excellence over the years has been immeasurable," Fox says in a statement. "While he leaves the show in the incredibly capable hands of the talented Howard Gordon, his input will always be welcome." Related:
" The 24 You'll Never See: Fox Addresses "Jack-lash"