Tonight FOX is airing the pilot episode of Tim Kring’s new drama Touch ahead of the show’s official March 19 premiere. Kiefer Sutherland (24) stars as Martin Bohm, a man who is estranged from his autistic son. In Touch, the Heroes creator tells an emotionally and spiritually uplifting story about a mute child who communicates with numbers and discovers patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events around the world. Though the show will take place in a myriad of locales and touch the lives of strangers, at the heart of this series is the relationship between Sutherland’s character and his gifted son. Watch the extended trailer once and you should immediately start anticipating tonight’s one-hour preview event. And then the wait until March will become all the more unbearable.
Touch airs tonight at 9PM on FOX.
Update: The ratings are in and it turns out many people were touched by Sutherland’s new show last night. The Touch pilot attracted 11.9 million viewers and scored a 3.9/10 among adults 18-49. This makes it the second highest rated new drama series this TV season. (ABC’s Once Upon a Time premiere still remains the highest rated drama series this season so far: 12.8 million viewers, 4.0 demo rating among the 18-49 crowd.) This bodes extremely well for Kring’s latest. People are positively buzzing about the show, and anticipation is high for the spring premiere. Did Touch grip you last night? Spill your thoughts in the comments section below.
At the center of Touch is Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland), a widower and single father, haunted by an inability to connect to his mute 11-year-old son, Jake (David Mazouz). After multiple failed attempts at keeping Jake in school, Martin is visited by Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a social worker sent to evaluate Jake’s well-being. Everything changes when Martin discovers that Jake possesses the gift of staggering genius – the ability to see things that no one else can and the patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events. Jake is indeed communicating. But it’s not with words, it’s with numbers. Martin meets Arthur Dewitt (Danny Glover), a professor and an expert on children who possess special gifts when it comes to numbers. Now, it’s up to Martin to decipher the meaning and connect the numbers to the cast of characters whose lives they affect.
At the TCA winter press tour, Heroes creator Tim Kring shared his enthusiasm about his upcoming FOX drama Touch. “I can’t say enough about [FOX entertainment president] Kevin [Reilly]’s support. It was a script that I thought was a challenging one for a network to want to do to, I frankly didn’t think it would be done at a network. And Kevin read it and believed in it instantly and has absolutely been its tireless champion within the company. So I’m hugely indebted.”
Series star Kiefer Sutherland was also on hand to shed some light on how he landed the lead role and what exactly drew him to a show involving “global unity” and interconnectedness among human lives. Kring admits that he did not write the Martin Bohm character with Sutherland in mind. Additionally, Sutherland wasn’t so much interested in returning to TV after his long run on 24 which only concluded two years ago. But when he read the pilot script he was going to make an exception here. “I remember getting to Page 35 and thinking, ‘Shit. I’m in real trouble here,’ ” Sutherland shared. “The character is so vastly different [from that of 24's Jack Bauer], the tone of the piece is so vastly different. And that’s part of its appeal.” He continued, “I had to read the script twice to make sure that all the things that were affecting me were affecting me on a personal level as opposed to trying to manage a career. Does it happen to be a nice diversion from 24? Yes. I just couldn’t turn this down because it spoke to me on a really profound level.” He added, “My choice to do this had nothing to do with trying to get away from 24. It was because I want to spend hopefully the next seven or eight years sinking my teeth into something interesting.”
Sutherland made a comparison between his iconic 24 role and the new shoes he’s about to fill. “The one parallel between the two characters is Jack Bauer was asked to save the day, and there was always going to be casualties. Martin will never have an idyllic relationship with his son. With both characters, they’ll never completely win, and that’s something I’m drawn to as an actor.” At one point he described the father/son relationship between Martin and Jake as “really beautiful.”
After discussing how and why he positioned himself in the lead role, Sutherland described the logistics of Touch. “Some characters will be woven over [multi-episode] arcs, but Tim and I both learned – he from Heroes and me from 24 — that there is great value in a procedural drama. So every week there will be a set of circumstances set about by Jake that will put Martin in a situation to deal with someone new, and that situation will be resolved. There will be a beginning, a middle and an end, in theory, to every episode.”
Later, it was revealed that Kring’s son is autistic and that he is an inspiration for the show. Touch will explore the facets of autism and “Tim feels very responsible to stay true to [autism] in that regard,” says Sutherland. “So we’re not go to be making stuff up to explain stuff. We’re going to deal with the medicine and what doctors know.”
Before the panel could conclude, critics asked Sutherland about the current status of the 24 movie. He confirmed rumors that shooting will begin “at the end of April, beginning of May.” He teased that the movie is “relatively a direct continuation” of the series finale that aired on FOX in May 2010. We’re talking maybe six months from the end of that episode.” As previously reported, the movie will cover a 24-hour period in about two hours, so obviously it will not be told in real-time like the show was. Last, it was recently announced that Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Chloe will factor into the movie.
Touch premieres March 19. FOX will be airing a preview later this month on January 25 at 9PM.
Here it is, our very first look at the upcoming FOX drama Touch. The show focuses on a father (played by 24’s Kiefer Sutherland) who discovers that his autistic, mute son (newcomer David Mazouz) can predict events before they happen. Danny Glover, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Undercovers), and Titus Welliver–better known as The Man in Black from Lost–round out the cast. Read over this fuller synopsis after you watch the powerful trailer:
At the center of TOUCH is MARTIN BOHM (Sutherland), a widower and single father, haunted by an inability to connect to his mute 11-year-old son, JAKE (David Mazouz). After multiple failed attempts at keeping Jake in school, Martin is visited by CLEA HOPKINS (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a social worker sent to evaluate Jake’s well-being. Everything changes when Martin discovers that Jake possesses the gift of staggering genius – the ability to see things that no one else can and the patterns that connect seemingly unrelated events. Jake is indeed communicating. But it’s not with words, it’s with numbers. Martin meets ARTHUR DEWITT (Danny Glover), a professor and an expert on children who possess special gifts when it comes to numbers. Now, it’s up to Martin to decipher the meaning and connect the numbers to the cast of characters whose lives they affect.
With the trope of interconnectedness scattered throughout the trailer and synopsis it’s little surprise that Tim Kring, the creative mind behind Heroes, is the one who imagined Touch. Everything about the trailer has been excited about this show. An emotionally charged Sutherland leads a cast consisting of veteran and young stars that show much promise here. And as for the story Kring’s itching to tell: color me happily intrigued. Touch will air in midseason on FOX.
We all knew it was going to happen, but now it’s official: FOX has picked up Touch, a new series from creator Tim Kring (Heroes) and starring Kiefer Sutherland (24), to series for a midseason debut. The network has ordered a 13-episode arc expected to premiere in the spring of 2012.
Fox prez Kevin Reilly on the pickup: “Touch is another ambitious series from Tim Kring that is beautifully executed and has incredibly resonant themes for our times. With Kiefer back on the network as the face and force behind this creative new series, I’m confident it will resonate with viewers this spring.”
Adds Sutherland: “Every once in a while, you encounter a piece of material that you just cannot say no to. That, combined with the opportunity to work again with Peter Chernin and the Fox studio and network, makes me thrilled to be a part of this project. I also look forward to working with an extraordinary writer and producer like Tim Kring.”
Need to be reminded of what Touch is all about? The latest press release describes it like this: “Touch is a distinct and colorful drama in which science and spirituality intersect with the hopeful premise that we are all interconnected, tied in invisible ways to those whose lives we are destined to alter and impact.” Hop after the break to read a juicier plot description. Touch stars Sutherland, David Mazouz, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Danny Glover. Kring, Francis Lawrence (Water for Elephants, I Am Legend), Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, Sutherland, Suzan Bymel, and Carol Barbee serve as executive producers; Lawrence helmed the pilot.
After sitting out one broadcast cycle to mull over a 24 feature film and produce a web series, Kiefer Sutherland is ready to return to primetime network TV. And he’s coming back to his former home FOX, no less. He will star in Touch, a drama from Tim Kring (Heroes). The story will focus on a father (Sutherland) who discovers that his autistic, mute son can predict events before they happen. Though the network has only committed to producing a pilot, Sutherland’s touch (pun intended) is expected to launch it into episodic treatment. In a similar fashion to 24, FOX will air Kring’s latest creation in midseason. Why, you ask? Well that’s because production is being delayed to late May-early June so that Sutherland can continue to pursue his Broadway career in a revival of Jason Miller’s That Championship Season. In addition to starring in Touch, Sutherland will serve as executive producer along with Peter Chernin and Kathrine Pope. Charles McDougall (Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife, The Chicago Code) has been tapped to direct the pilot.
Need your Kiefer fix right now? Look out for his upcoming web series The Confession premiering on Hulu next month.