24 on FOXWith the sixth season of FOX’s “24” now in full swing, I thought we’d take a look at how voiceover is used in this hit television series. For the past 6 years, we’ve become accustomed to hearing these three simple words:
“Previously on 24”
Although they are only three little words, they have made a significant impact on millions of television viewers around the world.


Kiefer Sutherland Golden GlobesThe voiceover is recorded by star and executive producer of the program, Kiefer Sutherland, known as Jack Bauer, a modern day superhero who won’t let anything stop him from protecting the American people from terrorist attacks with the aid of the CTU (Central Terrorism Unit) and the US Department of Defense.
Back to the voiceover.
The voiceover is tough and exudes authority, intensity, patriotism, and strength.
The voice talent recording this line is portraying the role of a hero and someone who does not fail, even when it means sacrificing his own life or that of those he is close to for the greater good.
As I mentioned above, the voiceover is distinctly tough, and if you recall, the voice itself is Ford Tough.
Does that sound familiar? Well, Kiefer also happens to be the voice of the Ford Motor Company, recording for their truck commercials.
The velvety grit of Kiefer’s voice in the commercials for Ford is quite similar to the voiceover recorded for the 24 liner.
Remember also that Jack Bauer’s voice and persona are also deemed popular and magnetic. Jack Bauer’s James Bond ability to fight evil doers physically and psychologically is filed under society’s ‘cool’ heading.
Taking another step into reality, Kiefer Sutherland is also the technically savvy and powerful voice that recorded the commercial copy announcing that the Intel chip was incorporated into a Mac in 2006.
If you look carefully, there’s a lot of Kiefer Sutherland in Jack Bauer. For instance, did you see the Mac laptops that the character Chloe was sporting this season? There are Macs positioned in CTU and likely the White House, too.
The Apple culture (maker of all things Mac and iPods), is cool, technical, and highly sophisticated. It’s associated with passion, intelligence, and overachieving.
All of those associations help to strengthen the brand of 24 with the voiceover as the glue that holds it together.
Any comments that you’d like to share about the voiceovers mentioned or the show 24?
Cheers,
Stephanie
Photo courtesy: FOX Broadcasting Company
P.S. Here’s a link to a recent interview conducted with Kiefer about 24, including a burning question about looping and his voiceover work for the line “The following takes place…”.
If you haven’t heard Kiefer’s voice and would like to, watch this video of Kiefer explaining hockey. It’s tough and patriotic, just like the voiceover on the show.

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her blog serves an audience what wants to grow in their careers as professional voice users, and more specifically, voice actors. Stephanie was recently listed on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Not only is 24 one of my all-time favorite shows, Kiefer Sutherland is one of my favorite men in Hollywood! Thanks for discussing just how talented he is! I still can’t believe the action from last night, and look forward to a nail biting season!

  2. Thanks for doing the story on one of the best shows on television, ’24’! I have always thought about how amazing it is that a few short voice-over lines, like “Previously on 24” and “The following takes place between…” can make such a huge impact on the tone of a show.
    ’24’ is one of the programs that I discuss on my podcast (Tuning In With Wayne Henderson). I also cover the show LOST, among other topics. Here’s to another intense season of ’24’!
    Wayne
    http://www.whpodcast.com

  3. These guys continue to push out quality entertainment from season to season. A lot of shows loose their steam after the second season, but 24 gets better every year. I would trade my voice for Kiefer’s voice any day.

  4. Stephanie,
    So glad to hear you too are a “24” fan. I have not missed one “hour” since this all began over 5 years ago with the first 24.
    Kiefer is IT. His manner and voice is understated and direct, with a passion for life and doing it RIGHT!
    Other producers and directors could learn an awful lot from that team that writes, directs and produces that show every week. I will NOT miss it. Another reason why I have a 61″ HDTV with 5.1 surround sound. The ONLY way to watch it.
    Thanks! Sorry I missed this post originally.
    JG

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