Inside Move: ’24’ thesp off the clock

Despite circumstances, Jerald could be back

Penny Johnson Jerald may be a potential Emmy nominee — but that’s no guarantee the actress will be back on “24” this fall.

The producers of the critically hailed Fox hit have opted not to pick up Jerald’s option for next season. While that would normally mean Jerald — who plays the president’s vindictive ex-wife Sherry Palmer — won’t be coming back, “24” producers are known for not always playing by the usual TV rules.

A year ago, Sarah Clarke’s option wasn’t picked up, leaving many to assume that her character of Nina Myers was a goner. Yet ultraevil Nina — and Clarke — ended up in a half-dozen episodes of the show’s second season.

In addition, Reiko Aylesworth, who played Michelle in the show’s second season, was never listed as a series regular even though she popped up in every episode.

Nonetheless, it seems unlikely Jerald will play as key a role in the third season of “24” as she did in the first two.

Producers weren’t talking Tuesday, and a rep for 20th Century Fox TV said that in order to maintain storyline secrecy, the studio isn’t commenting on the future of any thesps save for Keifer Sutherland (who will be back).