With critically worshipped drama hit “24” racing to the end of its successful sophomore season, co-creator and exec producer Robert Cochran has inked a new overall deal that will keep him planted at 20th Century Fox TV for another 24 months.
Pact calls for the vet scribe to remain as showrunner of the 20th/Imagine skein while also developing new series projects for 20th.
Joel Surnow, who created “24” with Cochran, remains exec producer of the series, having inked a new overall deal with 20th earlier this year (Daily Variety, Feb. 28).
While he’s open to developing new projects eventually, Cochran’s priority, like Surnow’s, remains “24.”
“How often in your career do you get the chance to be a part of something that’s had this sort of response?” Cochran said. “And it’s hard to imagine a more congenial, satisfying working experience than this. Without an idea (for a project) that’s incredibly special and alluring, it’d be hard to leave.”
‘No small feat’
Inking a new deal with Cochran reps “a huge victory for everyone at the studio,” 20th Century Fox TV prexy Dana Walden said.
“We badly wanted to keep him on the show,” Walden continued. “He’s a remarkable storyteller and very influential in the breaking of stories.”
Walden said Cochran’s ability to keep track of what’s going in the ultracomplex “24” universe is one of his biggest skills.
“He can plot out 12 episodes and walk you backwards or forward through all the plot details,” she said. “It’s no small feat.”
With production on season two wrapped — and Surnow, Cochran and scribe Howard Gordon all set to return next year — preliminary planning for the third season of “24” has already started.
Skein’s unique format had some critics questioning whether producers could match the intensity of the groundbreaking first season. Stellar reviews — and big ratings spike — for season two has convinced Cochran that “24” can go on for a while.
“I’m optimistic that having done it twice, we can do it again,” said Cochran, whose deal was brokered by APA and Michael Gendler.
In addition to “24,” Cochran’s credits include the USA Network actioner “La Femme Nikita,” “The Commish” and “JAG.” He also penned the USA mini “Attila.”