Television history changed a little in the Fall of 2001, and not just because right before the broadcast season was to begin, fundamentalist crashed two planes into the Twin Towers. on ABC, ALIAS was about to give them a taste of the spy action, while FOX was doing the same, in a way, but only much harsher and more brutal: 24 was born. But because of 9/11, FOX had to pre-empt not only the start of the broadcast season, but eventually the show’s premiere for one week. Originally, FOX planned to get the show into the run for ratings after the World Series on October 30 (the network didn’t want to pre-empt the show in its beginning, due to its real-time nature, and the World series would have definitely pre-empted 24), but the pilot episode needed to be reworked (it depicted an exploding plane – you know, the one Mandy jumped out of). Eventually, November 6, 2001 was the date in which FOX found a success that came like a miracle, since THE X-FILES was about to end.
Yet 24 wasn’t a success in its first season. The critics were having a raging boner for this unusual and thrilling show, and the watching audience loved Jack Bauer’s first day of anti-terror action as well, but 24 wasn’t the pop culture show it became to be in later seasons. Still, despite the rather mediocre numbers the show delivered, it was a good-enough success for FOX to renew the show for another season. And the numbers show that 24 had the potential to be a hit show, even in the ratings. After all, the target demo ratings only went below the 4.0 mark six times throughout the season, and never below a 3.5. Considering how much trouble FOX had to establish new shows during the late 1990s, the network was most likely taking these numbers, seeing them as “da bomb”, and hoping the second season wouldn’t go down. Well, it didn’t, because 24 became a pop culture hit and rose like THE X-FILES did back in 1994.