The Ausiello Files

The Ausiello Files: January 26, 2008

EW's TV scooper has details on Lauren Graham's ABC pilot, Michelle Trachtenberg on 'Gossip Girl,' and '24''s future

Is eight enough for Jack Bauer?

Good news for terrorists everywhere: With just one more year left on Kiefer Sutherland's 24 contract, there's a very real possibility that Jack Bauer's career as the world's foremost savior may end next season. And while Sutherland says he's undecided as to whether day 8 will be his last, he's watching the clock in a way he never has before.

''I don't think about [the end of 24] a lot, but I did this year for the first time,'' he confesses. ''It was one of those weird moments where the stage was unusually quiet; it was like a ghost town. I was looking around [thinking] about all the work that went into building this thing and it hit me: This will end one day, and I'm going to be sad about it.

''Whether season 8 is the end or not, I don't know,'' he continues. ''I love making the show, so I'm leaving my options open. And in all fairness, I think the audience will dictate that more than anybody.''

In the meantime, perhaps even more critical than determining when Jack will pack it in is how. ''There are two obvious choices: Jack dies, or Jack finally has a happy ending,'' suggests executive producer Evan Katz. ''It's actually an interesting discussion as to which would be more faithful to the show and more rewarding for the audience. Because if we give him a happy ending, part of the audience would be mad at us for doing what is easy. And if we kill him, they would be mad at us for a different reason altogether.''

There are also the bean counters at 20th Century Fox to consider; they'll need Jack alive if there's to be a 24 movie franchise (as many expect there will be). ''Kiefer and I have always said, 'Jack Bauer's gotta die,''' says fellow EP and frequent director Jon Cassar. ''But then the idea of a 24 movie came up and we went, 'Oh, okay, maybe not.'''

ASK AUSIELLO

Q: Any scoop on Lauren Graham's forthcoming ABC pilot?Kevin
A: If Men in Trees had sex with Arrested Development, nine months later it would spawn Graham's untitled, single-camera comedy. The star describes her alter ego as a ''self-help guru who's obsessed with her [ex-boyfriend] who dumped her. She's deeply flawed.'' She's also nothing like a certain Gilmore Girls heroine. ''I loved Lorelai, but she wasn't deeply flawed,'' Graham says. ''She was very easy to root for. This is a slightly more twisted character.''

Q: Is Balthazar Getty leaving Brothers & Sisters or not?Claire
A: The answer's complicated. Yes, Getty will depart the ABC drama this April, but it's the producers' hope that he will return next season as an occasional guest star. ''We intend for Balthazar to be a part of the show through its entirety,'' says co-showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen. ''But to the extent that Tommy figures into the daily lives of the Walkers, that remains up for grabs.''

Q: What brings Michelle Trachtenberg back to Gossip Girl?Naomi
A: Surprisingly, it's not her seemingly indefatigable desire to piss off frenemy Serena. Quite the contrary, in fact. ''Certain times a situation is so dire that it requires the assistance of even your most sworn enemy,'' teases exec producer Josh Schwartz. ''Serena and Blair [might] find themselves in a situation where they have no recourse other than to recruit Georgina Sparks.''

Every day at EW.COM Ausiello will scoop your face off. It's more fun than it sounds.

Originally posted Jan 23, 2009 Published in issue #1032-1033 Jan 30, 2009 Order article reprints