The Paley Center for Media screened the first episode of the upcoming franchise reboot “24: Legacy” Monday night in New York City, followed by a Q&A session with series co-creator and exec producer Evan Katz and the cast.

Speaking to Variety before the screening, Katz, a longtime writer and producer on the original “24,” said that while the Kiefer Sutherland series was an iconic hit, he didn’t initially think about setting his new project in the old series’ narrative universe.

“My writing partner Manny Coto and I, we didn’t start out with that idea. We met on ’24’ and we were actually talking about an independent thriller idea. At some point, someone said, ‘this could be ’24,'” he says. “It really evolved. It was very difficult, at first, to figure out the right combination of characters and elements. But finally, we put everything in the right place.”

The new series stars Corey Hawkins (“Straight Outta Compton”) as an ex-Army Ranger caught up in a terrorist plot, while Miranda Otto and Jimmy Smits portray a political power couple.

Smits said he wanted to participate because of the new show’s racially diverse cast and because “the woman characters are very strong. It’s more modern.” Smits shared that he was a fan of the original series, adding, “The visual template of the show was always striking. I think it changed the way we watch television in a lot of different ways.”

Although “24: Legacy” has a new set of characters, it retains its real-time storytelling concept. Cast member Dan Bucatinsky, who plays a communication analyst, said it was difficult at times to keep track of as an actor. “Sometimes we have to remind ourselves, ‘Oh that happened only four hours ago.’ We have to set our watches for every scene we do.”

“24: Legacy” premieres on Feb. 5 on Fox, after Super Bowl LI.