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Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland said playing Jack Bauer on 24 was the 'role of a lifetime.' The series is wrapping up after eight seasons on air. ((Dan Steinberg/Associated Press))

Jack Bauer, the character Kiefer Sutherland plays on the action series 24, will stop running — the Fox TV network announced cancellation of the series but also said it had approved a big screen adaptation.

The series, which started its eighth season in January, has been slipping in ratings.  Its two-hour finale will air May 24.

"This has been the role of a lifetime, and I will never be able to fully express my appreciation to everyone who made it possible," Sutherland said in a statement Friday.

P.O.V.:

Fox cancels 24: Will you miss the series?

"Looking ahead to the future, [executive producer] Howard Gordon and I are excited about the opportunity to create the feature film version of 24," the Canadian actor added.

On the show, Sutherland portrays federal agent Jack Bauer who each season spends a 24-hour day battling terrorists and has to save the world, so to speak.

The program — which has earned 68 Emmy nods in total and captured best drama show in 2006 — was a unique experiment.  It employed a split screen to depict events occurring in two places at one time and featured a clock ticking off with each hour-long show representing an hour in Bauer's life.

The concept of a 24 movie was floated in February after the studio hired Billy Ray (State of Play ) to script a feature film story. According to the Hollywood trade media, it sends Bauer to Europe to unravel some nefarious plot.