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Black Jack? New ’24’ Won’t Have a White Lead

TCA 2016: ”We wanted it to be as different from Jack Bauer as possible,“ says Fox boss Dana Walden

For years, Kiefer Sutherland‘s Jack Bauer personified the stereotypical angry white male. He fought terrorists, tortured suspects, maybe even did a bit of racial profiling.

Jack Bauer won’t be back in Fox’s new spinoff series, “24: Legacy.” Instead, he’ll be replaced by a non-white actor who will be “as different from Jack Bauer as possible,” according to Fox Television Group co-CEO Dana Walden.

“The character was originally conceived to be a diverse actor,” she said Friday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “We wanted it to be as different from Jack Bauer as possible, and that was the original thinking, to have this be a diverse lead. Whether that’s African-American or a Latino actor, we’ve been really excited about some of the people we’ve been seeing throughout our internal process.”

“24” was co-created by Joel Surnow, one of Hollywood’s rare open conservatives, who once boasted to The New Yorker about how much the Bush Administration loved his series: “It’s a patriotic show. They should love it.”

The article said that the “ticking time bomb” scenarios that frequent “24” — in which Jack has no choice but to torture suspects because There’s no time! — had led to fears that real American soldiers might follow Bauer’s example.

Jack may be replaced by a secret agent of color, but one thing won’t change: There’s still no time. The new project, if it goes to series, will follow the real-time structure of the original action drama, in which each episode is one hour in the course of a day.