With the countdown clock ticking till Fox's presentation to advertisers today, the network has picked up real-time drama "24" for two more seasons.

The unusually late renewal for the Emmy-winning "24," from Real Time Prods., Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV, will keep Jack Bauer saving the day through the 2008-09 season.

Series star Kiefer Sutherland already is locked to stay with the show through May 2009 under a three-year, eight-figure deal Sutherland inked last year with 20th TV.

"We're re-creating the series," executive producer/showrunner Howard Gordon said. "It is going to be a real-time thriller. Beyond that, it's an open book."

"24" has had a roller-coaster ride the past couple of seasons. It earned rave reviews for Season 5, which was capped by five Emmys last year, including best drama series and a best actor trophy for Sutherland.

But during its current sixth season, "24" has drawn criticism from fans about losing some of its creative footing.

Aside from Sutherland, "24" will return with a new cast (some old favorites might return in different roles) and a new, non-Los Angeles location, with the producers even contemplating telling the story from two locations. *