Official: '24' returns May 2014

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Jack Bauer will be back, baby: EW has confirmed that Fox will bring back its long-running hit 24 next May.

The network will air 12 episodes of 24: Live Another Day as part of its new directive to air event programming in the summer as a way to tie together the regular seasons. A miniseries from M. Night Shyamalan called “Wayward Pines” will air after the run of 24, which will (naturally) feature the return of Kiefer Sutherland.

The 24 producers “always had the idea of maybe someday doing feature films, but as got into it they all agreed 24 being compressed in two hours is not 24,” Fox Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters today. “A light bulb went off with (former Executive Producer) Howard Gordon. The spine of the 24 episodes is about 12 hours. Those were big events that occurred and little connective tissue in between.”

Unlike what happened in the regular series — where each episode represented an hour in Bauer’s action-packed life — the new version will jump around during the day, Reilly explained. And the star power could be better than ever.

“A lot of who’s who in Hollywood wanted to participate in this,” Reilly said.

Asked why the show was cancelled in 2010, Reilly admitted that it felt like the right time — at the time.

“We wanted it to go out strong,” he said. “We didn’t want to keep it limping for two more seasons.”

Though Reilly says he doesn’t envision 24 becoming a regular series, he won’t rule out its “franchise-ability.”

“People are that much more excited about this,” he said.

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