But in keeping with the show's customary secrecy, no details were revealed about the ex-president's role in this season's battle against a group of Muslim terrorists in Los Angeles.
Haysbert exited the series at the end of last season when President Palmer decided not to seek re-election following the death of his devious ex-wife, Sherry (Penny Johnson Jerald). She was killed when the president's brother, Wayne (D.B. Woodside), tried to retrieve evidence she was concealing as part of a cover-up scheme.
The return of the ex-president "is definitely in keeping with the tradition of the show," noted a Twentieth Television spokesman.
In addition to Haysbert, former stars Carlos Bernard and Reiko Aylesworth (who played Counter Terrorism Unit agents Tony Almeida and Michelle Dessler Almeida), are both due to return this season.
In previous seasons of "24," the characters of Sherry Palmer and the villainous Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke) both returned for second seasons. Both characters are now dead.
Only two cast members from last season have not been asked back — yet. While President Palmer's brother, Wayne, is not expected to return, rumors are persisting that the daughter of rough, tough CTU agent Jack Bauer (Sutherland) will make a return appearance some time this season. The production company spokesman had no comment.
Played by Elisha Cuthbert, the character of Kim Bauer drew the ire of many of the show's fans, who complained that the storylines in which she was involved — especially one tangential tale in which she had a perilous encounter with a mountain lion — took valuable time away from the show's primary plotlines.