At Least 3 More Seasons of 24 for Sutherland

The rich pact, which is set to begin in June, calls for the actor to continue on the hit Fox drama for three more years and includes a two-year development deal for Kiefer Sutherland‘s soon-to-be-launched production banner.

Details on the deal were sketchy, but sources pegged the acting portion alone at more than $40 million for the three seasons, which could make Sutherland the highest-paid actor in a drama series.

While the deal with Sutherland locks him in for three additional years beyond the current fifth season of "24," the 20th TV/Imagine TV-produced show so far has been picked up for one additional season.

Under the pact, Sutherland also will be elevated from a co-executive producer to executive producer on "24" next season alongside Joel Surnow, Robert Cochran, Howard Gordon and Evan Katz.

The development portion of the deal is said to include overhead and a development fund for Sutherland’s company. Sutherland will hire a development executive and will begin to develop and executive produce projects for television as well the Internet and wireless devices.

Sutherland called his past five years on the show "one of the most creative and rewarding experiences in my career."

In its fifth season, "24" is enjoying some of its best ratings and critical notices. The show, which introduced the now-hot serialized thriller genre, also has become a DVD best-seller and has spawned a mobile phone series.

Sutherland’s performance on "24" has earned him a Golden Globe award and four Emmy nominations.

On the big screen, he next will be seen opposite Michael Douglas and Kim Basinger in "The Sentinel" and will provide the voice of the lion in Disney’s "The Wild."


And there’s sketchy talk of a 24 movie for somewhere down the road, but I wouldn’t exactly hold my breath waiting for it.