"24" star Kiefer Sutherland has inked a multifaceted deal with 20th Century Fox Television and is on the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.
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 Sutherland’s soon-to-be-launched production banner.
Details on the deal were sketchy Friday, 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 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.
"Working with Kiefer Sutherland over the past five seasons of ’24’ has been one of the great pleasures of my professional career," 20th TV president Dana Walden said. "He is an extraordinary actor with amazing instincts, he’s fiercely intelligent, and he has fantastic taste in material."
Added 20th TV president Gary Newman, "In his years on ’24,’ Kiefer has demonstrated an incredible understanding of what makes for a compelling story or character, and he brings a passion to the process of making television that extends well beyond his own performance. We believe he could become every bit as accomplished a producer as he is a performer."
Sutherland called his past five years on the show "one of the most creative and rewarding experiences in my career."
He added: "The extraordinary support that we have received from Dana Walden, Gary Newman and everyone at Twentieth has made a difficult show like ’24’ succeed on all levels, and for that I’m truly grateful. I am thrilled to extend my commitment to all my friends and colleagues at ’24,’ and I’m looking forward to this expanded relationship with 20th Century Fox."
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 also as the voice of the lion in Disney’s "The Wild."