Well, although Fox hasn't confirmed it, I'll go out on a limb and say Jack Bauer isn't returning this season. Even if the strike ends tomorrow, the earliest the show could get back on the air is this summer — and there's no way in hell Fox is dumping 24 onto the summer season. That leaves the network with several options, none of them ideal.
One solution is to just kick off Season 7 next January (2009), but by then Jack will have been in hiding for nearly two years.
Another, and much more controversial, scenario being bandied about involves taking the eight episodes currently in the can and creating a 10- to 14-episode mini-season to air in the fall. That would be followed by another 10- to 14-episode mini-season — featuring a completely different plot — during the second half of the season. Opponents of that idea have argued, and rightly so, that by splitting the season, you're essentially compromising the show's unique, 24-hour conceit. Proponents, however, argue that these are desperate times. And sometimes desperate times require throwing out the rulebook. I can see that point as well.
Jack Bauer, terror-free in 2008.