Fans of the Fox drama “24” please let out a resounding scream, because darkness is upon us. Jack Bauer and his alter ego Kiefer Sutherland may be leaving our TV screens for good. According to a report in Variety, the the end is near for the mega hit after 8 successful seasons on air. Can this be true? Has Jack Bauer’s time finally run out?

According to the trade’s sources, Fox and the producers of “24″ are ready to put the final nail in the show’s coffin after the completion of season 8. No official statement has been given as of yet, but the announcement is expected to be made within a day or two. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the talk that’s surrounded the series for the past few seasons.

“24″ kicked off a new era for Fox along with “House” and “American Idol” that made the network a ratings giant and a viable competitor against the big three (ABC, NBC, CBS). Yet, over time the series’ ratings have declined as the price of production has continued to increase. The show has also been on the receiving end of the some pretty harsh plot criticisms, especially this season.

Even if the show does end its run on television, Bauer’s story is far from over. As we reported last month, a feature film adaptation is in the works. Screenwriter Billy Ray (State of Play) has been hired to pen a script that would send Jack Bauer overseas to Europe. Therefore, if the show does come to a close that will be next creative step in Bauer’s story.

Even though “24″ is a good show that has a strong and loyal fan base, I think they should go out while they’re on top. That’s what ABC is doing with “Lost.” I’d love to see Sutherland leave on his own terms as opposed to be forced out by bad ratings. That’s not how we should remember the legacy that is “24.”

Do you think it’s time for 24 to go? What will you miss the most about the show?