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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November, 2003, 18:27 GMT
Third 24 series flags in ratings
Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer Sutherland stars as Jack Bauer in thriller 24
The new series of hit TV thriller 24 has suffered a ratings dip after its first instalment aired in the US.

The opening episode of the show's third series, which stars Kiefer Sutherland, lost two million viewers compared with its second season debut.

Programme bosses are blaming the loss of interest on a change of "lead in" - the show which goes out immediately before 24's evening time slot.

The less popular Joe Millionaire has replaced American Idol before 24 airs.

Last season's opening episode of 24 pulled in 26.5 million viewers in the US, when the lead-in programme was ratings winner American Idol.


The show's executive producer Brian Grazer has admitted he is concerned about 24's third season having a less popular programme on the air immediately before it.

"I'm worried about our lead-in, that's a concern," he said.

But the Hollywood mogul said he is confident about the show, calling it "better than the last season".

"The show itself is more of an adrenalin-hitting kind of show than last season, and we've shot nine episodes," added Grazer.

Ratings vital

24 is aired by the Fox Network in the US, which has become the home of a clutch of popular TV shows, including The Simpsons and Malcolm In The Middle.

Audience ratings are traditionally vital on US television - the latest show to be axed due to poor viewing figures is Coupling on NBC.

The US version of the British sitcom was cancelled after a ratings disaster and a mauling by TV critics.

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