CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) - In a conference call this afternoon designed to tout FOX's May sweeps performance, network executives dropped a few hints about the next season of "24" coming off last night's cliffhanger ending. The following is a transcript of what FOX toppers Gail Berman and Sandy Grushow had to say about the future of the series:
Please note that this transcript contains spoilers for last night's episode and includes facts about the upcoming season. Comments are limited to those concerning "24." The questions below were taken from the various media outlets present.
Question: Okay Gail, I've got to ask you about last night. Can you confirm that David Palmer is dead?
Gail Berman (President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company): I can confirm for you that he has been, that an attempted assassination has been made on the President and we don't know what will happen.
Question: Okay, can we...
Sandy Grushow (Chairman, Fox Television Entertainment Group): The only thing we can tell you with certainty is that David Palmer will not win "American Idol."
Question: Okay, can we talk about the link between the first season and the second season... bringing the assassin back. I mean can..., this force, I mean, is this going to be driving the third season of the show?
GB: I can tell you that I don't believe that it will be the driving force of the third season so that will give you a hint. What we did do with bringing the assassin back I think was a great tip of the hat to our very loyal fans. We know, and it's been overwhelming in my e-mail today etc. for those people who recognize Mandy from the pilot, to bring her back as the person involved in the assassination attempt last night that that was a huge, big deal for fans of this show. And people were kind of going crazy so it was a tip of the hat to the loyal viewers. It also has to do with the story but I'm not going to go there.
(Later on in the Q&A.)
Question: I've gotta ask a question. When you talk to the "24" people, do you ever talk about sweet little Kim? And is there some place we can put her, like in summer camp or somewhere?
SD: She's going to become Robert Bianco's [USA Today's TV critic] assistant.
Question: But I mean do you talk about that? That seemed to me to be the big drawback in that show this season.
GB: Look we think Elisha Cuthbert is a fantastic actress. She's been asked to do a lot, there's no question about that. There's certainly been internal questions to the point of people coming to virtual blows internally about where Kim's arc took her this year. I think that the guys have a new idea for Kim for next year and we love the fact that Kim provides another opportunity for people to talk about this show.
Question: Well, let's talk about something else about that show. The heart problems, reviving Kiefer's character, and then the heart problems at the end of last week's episode and last night. I mean, do you have to be more realistic next time? I mean these plots are so dissected does it matter? What's your thought about that?
GB: I do think it's realistic to have a follow up issue to a heart problem when you've been... a couple of hours earlier...
GB (continued): That was very realisitic. I think that there's no question this has been an extreme season and it's been exciting and I think everyone went along for the ride because it was so well done that you could believe that it could happen. And that I think is great television and the audience took the leap. And you know what, we expect it to be equally as good next year for you to take another leap.
Question: But do you understand my question? I don't mean to be flip about it. It's played at this heightened level for so long is there any thought for next season maybe pull back a little bit, that you can't top what's you've done this season?
GB: I think you can top anything with quality writing and quality acting and directing. I don't think we'll be telling the same story again next season obviously. So for those of you who said after season one that it would be impossible to top season one. Season two was capable of doing that. And I know that many of you, and certainly many people out in the audience, came around to this show and said wow, they've done it again. We believe we can do it yet again. And it will be different story and hopefully equally as compelling.
Question: Thank you so much.