'24' Helps To Ring In New Year

Champagne headaches will have only just worn off, but FOX has scheduled the premiere of the fourth season of “24” for Sunday, Jan. 9, 2005. While the network recently announced that the new season would begin on Monday, Jan. 3, the revised date will allow “24” to launch with three hours of programming over two intense nights.
The Sunday sneak will also let FOX tease the lauded drama following coverage of the NFC Wild Card game.

The fourth longest day of Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) life will start with a two-hour episode, as the Emmy-winning series begins a 24-episode run that won’t be interrupted by repeats or preemptions (unless FOX unearths a couple “American Idol” specials that are just too pressing to keep on the shelf). After the two-hour episode, which will air from 8-10 p.m., the show will move into its regular Monday 9 p.m. ET time the following night (Jan. 10).

Fans of the show will recall that in the third season Jack helped the Counter Terrorist Unit stop a motley group of madmen from unleashing a deadly virus in Los Angeles. He also spent four or five episodes in Mexico doing virtually nothing and occasionally dealt with an addiction to heroin.

Season four, FOX reveals, will begin at 7 a.m. and will, once again, take place over the course of a single day. If you want the twists and turns of the season to be entirely fresh, you may want to turn away, but CTU is now run by Erin Driscoll (Alberta Watson), an agent who fired Jack when she took over on the job. Jack is now working for the Secretary of Defense (William Devane) and dating his married daughter (Kim Raver), but after the explosion of a commuter train, Jack finds himself back at CTU.

The fate of the world, it seems, hangs in the balance.

The season also features Nestor Serrano (“The Day After Tomorrow”) as Middle Eastern businessman and Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (“The House of Sand and Fog”) as his wife.

The first three seasons of “24” all earned Emmy nominations for outstanding drama series

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