For many fans of Fox's homeland security thriller 24, eight seasons of Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer wasn't enough. And those fans will be be happy to hear that he's coming back to TV in Touch, the latest science fiction pilot from Heroes creator Tim Kring.
Sutherland is negotiating with Touch producers for the lead role in the series, which follows a father (the role he's being offered) whose disabled son develops the ability to see the future. The gift is complicated by the boy's various afflictions, including autism and an inability to speak. Touch is Tim Kring's first spec script, and first major project of any kind, since Heroes.
Sutherland hasn't been resting on his laurels since the end of 24's run. In addition to some ill-advised voice acting work on the universally panned Marmaduke, he's starring in the upcoming web-only one-off The Confession and a science fiction movie called Melancholia (filming is finished on both). The project most likely to interfere with his possible return to television is the latest Broadway incarnation of The Championship Season, due in March. However, considering that he'd only need to be present for the pilot filming of Touch, it's not unreasonable to assume he'd do both.
Touch would be a major change for Sutherland, whose roles have been largely action-oriented for the last few years. While not much information is available on the new project, it's clear that a role as the father of a simultaneously gifted and disabled son would necessitate an impressive emotional range. That isn't to say that Sutherland isn't up to the task, but it will be a shift out of his comfort zone and a change for fans who are used to seeing him chase terrorists every week.
Touch represents a new chance for Tim Kring and much of the Heroes production team to start fresh. After the hit first season of the superhero seris on NBC, the following three seasons consistently declined in quality and viewership until the show's inauspicious cancellation in 2010. To be fair, rumor indicated that NBC took the vast majority of creative control away from the writers, so Heroes' decline can't be blamed entirely on the creators. It'll be interesting to see if Fox allows Kring & Co. more control.
Touch has yet to be picked up for an initial season by Fox. If it is, a fall 2011 or spring 2012 debut is likely.
Source: TV Line