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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 17:24 GMT
Hit drama 24 gets third series
Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland is to return as Jack Bauer
Hit drama 24 is get a third series, following record ratings in the US.

Fox Television gave the go-ahead for a new series of the real-time show, which now ranks as the fifth highest-rated drama on US TV.

The second series is only half-way through in the US but the network is confident enough of its success to put in an early commission for a third series.

Actor Kiefer Sutherland, who plays counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer, has signed up for a further series but Fox has not revealed any of the plotlines.

The current series sees Jack embark on yet another traumatic day, this time attempting to stop a nuclear bomb going off in Los Angeles.

The show has been seen as experimental because each episode covers one hour out of 24 as Bauer battles one crisis after another.

Complex storyline

Fox said its early commission of 24 is due to rising audiences in the US, which have climbed to more than 11 million.

In the UK, where it is shown on BBC Two, 24 regularly attracts three million viewers.

"24 is no longer merely the best drama on TV, it now ranks as the fifth highest-rated drama overall," said Fox chairman Sandy Grushow.

He said the rare early commission would give producers time to plan out the complex storylines for the third series.

The first series won Sutherland a Golden Globe for best performance in a drama.

The show picked up an Emmy for its creators Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran for outstanding writing.

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