By Nellie Andreeva and Cynthia Littleton
After several weeks of renewal negotiations infused with some real-life drama, Fox Broadcasting Co. and 20th Century Fox TV have sealed a deal to bring back real-time drama “24” for two more seasons.
Meanwhile, the network has given a last-minute renewal to another 20th TV show, reigning Emmy winner “Arrested Development,” which has been on the bubble since the network cut back the show’s second-season order in the spring because of underwhelming ratings.
The double pickup was great news for Imagine TV, which co-produces both series with 20th TV.
“These are two shows that we are incredibly proud of,” Imagine TV president David Nevins said. “We’re incredibly grateful to the creators who produce them every day and grateful to Fox for backing these shows.”
Negotiating a license fee for a four-year high-end drama such as “24,” with its elaborate location shoots and high-profile cast, led by Kiefer Sutherland, presents obvious challenges.
Attorney Michael Gendler, who represents the show’s co-creator/executive producers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran as well as exec producer Howard Gordon, is said to have been the driving force in pushing for a higher license fee to cover most of the show’s production deficits as part of the renewal deal.
While there has been a lot of buzz about “Arrested Development” getting a short order for next season, Fox’s decision to pick up a full-season, 22-episode order of the quirky single-camera series, comes as somewhat of a surprise.
“‘Arrested Development’ is one of the best comedies on television,” Fox’s recently appointed entertainment president Peter Liguori said. “The decision to order another season becomes easy when you consider its amazing cast, creative brilliance, critical acclaim and advertiser appeal.”
In addition to its returning series, Fox, which will announce its fall schedule Thursday at City Center Theater, will present to advertisers its new shows for next season, the comedies “Kitchen Confidential” and “The War at Home” and the dramas “Reunion,” “Head Cases,” “Bones” and “Deviant Behavior” (HR 5/16).