Fox has announced that its popular "24" TV series will begin the new season with a premiere covering four hours over two nights.

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The action gets under way on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 8p.m., followed by two more hours the next night.

That's a lot of prime time hours to devote to one show, but zap2it.com pointed out Thursday the formula generated great ratings last winter.

The coming season takes place nearly two fictional years after agent Jack Bauer's last cliffhanger concluded. Some horrific terrorist attacks have occurred in the meantime, and Wayne Palmer is now president.

The cast will include a number of new faces, including veteran actor James Cromwell as Bauer's estranged dad.