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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Fox will premiere the first new regular episode of "24" in nearly two years on Sunday, January 11, the network said Monday.
The seventh season of the real-time thriller will kick off with a two-hour episode, followed by another two-hour segment the next night. Fox used a similar rollout plan for 2007's sixth season premiere in January 2007.
"Day Seven" opens with the Counter Terrorism Unit dismantled and federal agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) on trial. Bauer's day takes an unexpected turn when former colleague Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard) returns after being presumed dead.
A two-hour prequel movie "24: Redemption" will give viewers a head start on the season when it airs on Sunday, November 23. The movie will feature Jon Voight, making his first series role in 40 years as Bauer's latest uber-nemesis. The veteran actor will also be seen in subsequent regular episodes.
"24" has been a troubled project since it ended its lackluster sixth season in May 2007. The producers had planned a set-in-Africa story line for Season 7, but that idea fell through, and last summer's production was delayed several times while scripts were reworked.
Filming was then shut down in early December for almost five months because of the Hollywood writers strike, which led to Fox's decision to hold back the entire season until 2009. The strike allowed Sutherland to serve a 48-day jail sentence for drunk-driving without affecting production. This past September, work stopped again because of quality-control issues with some of the scripts.