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Not a big farewell party for Jack Bauer

May 25, 2010 |  9:04 am


About 8.9 million people watched Jack Bauer and Chloe O'Brien bid each other a teary goodbye in the series finale of Fox's "24" on Monday night.

This has not been the strongest season creatively for "24," a groundbreaking show that made its debut in fall 2001 and chronicled the efforts of government agent Jack Bauer in the war against terror. While Bauer may be leaving the small screen, there are talks of a movie about the character he created. Unlike "Lost," which I didn't watch (but sorry folks that does not preclude me from writing about its ratings), I never missed an episode of "24." Here's my take on the finale.

The numbers for the finale were off from this season's average, another sign that Bauer is leaving at the right time. Leading up to Monday's two-hour finale, which saw Bauer stop short of killing the Russian president in his quest to avenge the death of his lover Renee Walker, "24" had been averaging about 10.6 million viewers this season and a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49. Each rating point in that demographic equals 1.3 million people. Last night's finale had a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49.

Interestingly, "24" was not a big hit right out of the gate. In its first season, which many fans (including this one) consider to be its best, the show averaged 8.6 million viewers. Its best year was Season 5, when it averaged almost 14 million viewers.

Each season of "24" represented one day in Bauer's life, and each episode was an hour of that day. Although in early seasons, the show's creators tried hard to realistically stick to that idea, this season it was real time in name only. In one episode this season, Bauer made it from midtown Manhattan to Washington Heights, then back downtown in under an hour. That would be a daylong adventure for any native New Yorker. Also, when Jack finally gets intimate with Renee, it's over in 10 minutes. Let's hope for Bauer's sake that wasn't in real time.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Jack gets close to Chloe on "24." Credit: Fox Broadcasting