"I would not categorize my view of the show last year as being disappointing," Liguori says. "By no means have I said that, nor will I. I think this is a show that is a living beast, which is, I think, the fun and the danger that the audience enjoys sharing. Each season they’re able to reset the table. Again, what I most admire about Joel [Surnow] and Bob [Cochran] and Howard [Gordon] is their creative courage. During the course of conversation as to what the new season will look like, it’s really enlightening, and a heck of a lot of fun to see them spitball ideas. In terms of a [season] bible, you know what, I don’t think — if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I feel like part of the high-wire act is their process. There is a specific energy that goes into creating a season of 24. It’s a little bit like war strategy, I guess. It’s classic war strategies. You have a big strategy, the first bullet goes off, the war strategy goes out the window. I actually think that energy has served them well on the show."

That answer didn’t satisfy at least one critic, who argued that our increasingly negative response to the show, plus its disappearance from this year’s top Emmy roster, was an indication that something is, in fact, at least slightly broken.

"You know, frankly, especially on 24, that happens at the end and beginning of every season," Liguori replies. "It’s true — again, one, the show resets its table every year. Two, I’ve got to tell you those guys are dogged, but they’re also neurotic in a good way. They pick apart the weaknesses in their show. They don’t sit there and say that the show was perfect. But with all that being said, last year’s performance doesn’t require wholesale changes. By far and away, it has them put their game face on to say they have the opportunity for another day, another 24 hours, of which they have a bar that they have to jump over. And, you know, I can tell you that those guys are very competitive, and it fuels their creativity."

While American Idol and 24 aren’t broke, one show that is, unfortunately, is the short-lived serial Drive, which was quickly pulled from the air this spring. FOX then teased the show’s few fans with several scheduled-and-cancelled burn-offs before just putting the show up online, an issue that Liguori addressed.

"It will always be a complicated issue with serialized shows," he says.  "I do hope, given the amount of broadband that is out there, that actually airing those two online will be satisfying for the loyalists of the show. I think in general, we’ve discussed this at TCAs and we’ve discussed it in general our first week, if you are going to dive into serialized shows, I think what is important for the industry is somehow you bring some closure to those shows. It may not always be on broadcast with a lot of marketing, but again, when these shows wind up having a narrow group of loyalists, we try to satisfy them."

Posted by:Daniel Fienberg