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Published: Monday, 8/10/2009

Jones offers few hints on coming '24'

BY ROB OWEN
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE

PASADENA, Calif. - Cherry Jones looks at a Fox publicist for reassurance that she's not giving away too much information about the new season of 24, which returns in January.

This much she'll say, warily: The first daughter (Sprague Grayden) is not back (presumably she's in jail) and the first gentleman is also history (presumably following a divorce).

24 executive producer Howard Gordon said Jones' President Allison Taylor is seeking a peace agreement as part of the new season's story, which takes place 18 months after the season that ended in May. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) is actually happy for a change but Renee Walker (Annie Wersching) is paying the price for some of what happened last season. Circumstances again bring them together.

But if you're a fan of President Taylor, prepare to possibly be disappointed. Through 11 episodes, she's not featured all the prominently, according to co-executive producer David Fury.

"We haven't used her enough," he said at a Fox party last week. "These stories take on a life of their own and can veer away from people we most want to see. She's vastly underutilized."

Fury said Jones is a sport about understanding how the story's need for characters dictates how much screen time any of the show's cast members receive. "We have an overabundance of great actors and characters and finding room to tell all their stories is very challenging."

The only thing that makes me anything but gleeful for Fox's Glee is my fear that it won't last. And I'm not alone. Producers got asked the same question during a "Glee" panel.

"Sometimes things find a niche audience and oftentimes those are very high-quality things," said executive producer Brad Falchuk, noting he's not a fan of musicals. "I don't think we have that problem. I think we are for a broad audience. Our intent always is to make something [everyone can enjoy]."

The series isn't a musical where characters often break into song, but it does focus on a glee club, so musical numbers are a part of the episodes, including the pilot, which aired in May. Subsequent episodes will air in September.

Star Jane Lynch plays an evil cheerleading coach, loves the show. "[This character allows me to say] some of the most heinous things I've ever said," she said. "She has to be the most scheming, unashamed, entitled person I've ever played and I'm just adoring it."

The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen, the TV editor for the Post-Gazette, is attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Los Angeles.

Contact him at:

rowen@post-gazette.com



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