'24' Adds MacNicol to the Mix

Peter MacNicol, who's maybe best-known for playing John Cage on "Ally McBeal," will step into a decidedly different TV world next season.

The Emmy-winning actor is joining the cast of "24" for the FOX show's sixth season, which gets underway in January. The network says he'll be a cast regular and play "a high-ranking government official," but as with most things "24," other details are scant.

MacNicol will also continue working on the CBS crime drama "Numb3rs," in which he plays a professor and colleague of David Krumholtz's crime-solving math genius. MacNicol typically is only in a handful of scenes each week on the CBS show, which could alleviate some potential scheduling headaches.

Season five of "24" ended with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), who had once again saved America from a terrorist threat, being abducted by the Chinese -- a bit of leftover fallout from the show's fourth season. Though the plot for the coming season is still a secret, Sutherland said in an interview with London's Observer newspaper that it will be largely concerned with Bauer "saving his own ass. He'll go from being the one who hunts people down to the one who's being hunted."

MacNicol won an Emmy in 2001 for his portrayal of eccentric attorney Cage on "Ally McBeal." His credits also include a stint on "Chicago Hope" and the feature films "Sophie's Choice" and "Ghostbusters II."