With all eyes on the show, [writer-producer Howard] Gordon admits that defining where Season 7 would go has been a constantly evolving process and involved the widely reported concept of setting it in Africa which would have changed the way the show looked and felt, but would have been too cost-prohibitive. "The fact is, it was a mutual issue," explains Gordon. "We struggled to do something new this year. We sent Jack Bauer to Africa and I wrote a script that honestly did not work. Before the network even saw it at the studio level, we were getting kick-back from the idea, especially once we budgeted what Africa would cost. It was a combination of the studio was not enthusiastic to shoot there for budgetary purposes and creatively, it didn’t feel like it warranted pushing our case. One day, at the iHop, I sat across [creators/executive producers] Joel [Surnow] and Bob [Cochran] and we all agreed this story wasn’t working and retooled it two weeks ago."Another interesting excerpt:
As for where they ended up, Gordon says the current version should be called Season 7 – Version 3.0 (since this is the third permutation the show has taken in the past few weeks) and will likely begin at 7:00 a.m. East Coast time. "The show picks up roughly three plus years later," says Gordon (even though technically, isn’t Bauer about 65 at this point?) "Time has a very metaphorical quality on 24. Even though it’s real time, the distance technically would be fifteen years older than when Kiefer started. We obviously don’t play it that way, it’s funny, even [Director/Executive Producer] Jon Cassar and I have a running argument that it’s actually 2015 on the show and that accounts for some of the science fiction conceits. But it really takes place in a nebulous, near future present. We have one of the most rigorously literal time things on a TV series, yet we are the most loose-jointed about it [in between seasons]."Gordon also says the seventh season will likely be set entirely in the D.C. area (though still mostly shot in Los Angeles), Jack is now a freelancer, Marilyn Bauer likely won’t return, Charles Logan and Wayne Palmer probably aren’t dead, and the new U.S. president will be a David Palmer-esque good guy. As widely reported previously, Cherry Jones (the lawgal from “Signs”) will play the new commander-in-chief. Read all of Anthony Ferrante’s excellent IF story on the matter here.