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FOX: Jack Bauer Ends Run in May

Fox has officially stopped the clock on 24.

The network announced Friday it has canceled the series. A victim of higher costs and declining ratings, 24 will end its run when the current eighth season concludes this spring.

Star Keifer Sutherland says he's "really nostalgic and really sad" at the show's demise. But executive producer Howard Gordon says the cast and crew agreed the time was right, as the show's real-time format became limiting: "We've really had what feels like our last day."

The series, which premiered in 2001, played an important role in the rebuilding of the Fox network, and was a groundbreaking drama in its early seasons, even though initially low ratings left its future uncertain. But critics seemed to tire of repetitive plots in recent seasons, ratings have faded, and the network wants to build new shows in the key Monday time slot behind hit medical drama House.

Although Gordon's contract to oversee the show expires this year, studio 20th Century Fox unsuccessfully tried to pitch the show to NBC when Fox bailed. Gordon calls that plan "a challenge," and NBC wasn't interested.

Now the cast and crew will turn their sights on a long-discussed feature film, which would send Sutherland's Jack Bauer to Europe for a story set in single day that avoids its current format, in which each episode represents a single hour. Though a first-draft script has been written by Billy Ray (State of Play), the movie has not yet been greenlit.

In the meantime, the series will come to a more "definitive" end than in past seasons, Sutherland says, that makes it clear hero Jack Bauer can't continue in his role as CTU's action hero. The series wraps production on April 9 and will air its two-hour finale on May 24.

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