TV NotesSurnow leaving '24'Co-creator and producer exits to focus on new projects
By Nellie Andreeva, The Hollywood Reporter
, Feb 13, 2008
LOS ANGELES -- "24" co-creator/executive producer Joel Surnow is leaving the Emmy-winning drama.
Surnow's departure is effective immediately. He served as an executive producer on the first eight episodes of Fox's real-time thriller's seventh season that were produced before and into the strike but will not be creatively involved in the remaining 16 episodes, slated to begin filming shortly.
Surnow's overall deal with "24" producer 20th Century Fox TV was up April 30. This week, the writer-producer asked the studio to release him early, to which they agreed.
Instead of signing a show deal to continue providing services on "24," Surnow decided to go for "a clean break" and leave altogether to focus on new projects, sources said. ("24" co-creator/executive producer Robert Cochran's overall pact with 20th TV also expired last year, but he continues to work on the series.)
"Joel created one of the landmark series of this decade in '24' and his contribution to its creative excellence over the years has been immeasurable," Fox said in a statement Wednesday. "While he leaves the show in the incredibly capable hands of the talented Howard Gordon, his input will always be welcome."
In the past few years, since executive producer Gordon took the reins of the 20th TV/Imagine TV series as showrunner, Surnow has been developing other projects on the side, including the "The 1/2 Hour News Hour" for Fox News Channel.
Surnow, Cochran and Gordon also shepherded a number of pilots through their production banner Real Time Prods., which will no longer exist, as the three principals won't be at the same roof anymore.
The openly conservative Surnow, who jokingly labeled himself a "right-wing nut," has been the most visible of the masterminds behind "24."
He hasn't shied from speaking his mind and made headlines in November when he asked, "Are we nuts thinking Hillary Clinton could be president of this country? Honest to God, just stand back and think about it."
Ironically, the upcoming seventh season of "24," slated to debut in January 2009, features the first female U.S. president, played by Cherry Jones.http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/...0f7bc9eeccbd21