By Michael Ausiello
June 08, 2009 at 11:11 PM EDT

Suddenly, I find myself counting the minutes until 24‘s new season. Perhaps this is why: Katee Sackhoff is joining the cast!

Sources confirm to me exclusively that the Battlestar Galactica heroine has been tapped to play the series regular role of Dana Walsh, a highly respected and down-to-earth data analyst at the new and improved New York branch of CTU.

Translation: Chloe-Starbuck catfight alert!

This fraktastic casting coup hit a road block last week when Sackhoff abruptly took herself out of the running, prompting me to post this blind item. But late Friday, word surfaced that the BSG badass was once again in the mix.

Here’s more scoop on Sackhoff’s character…

She’s in a relationship with

fellow agent Davis Cole (played by the just-cast Freddie Prinze. Jr.),

and she apparently has a skeleton in her closet she’s trying

desperately to keep hidden.

As I previously reported, 24‘s eighth season — which premieres Jan.

17, 2010 — will be set in the Big Apple and center on an assassination

plot against a visiting foreign leader (Slumdog Millionaire‘s Anil

Kapoor). In addition to Sackhoff and Prinze, new Day 8 blood includes

Forrest Gump’s Mykelti Williamson, Kissing Jessica Stein‘s Jennifer Westfeldt (as a journalist with ties

to Kapoor’s diplomat), and The Starter Wife‘s Chris Diamantopoulos (

President Taylor’s Chief of Staff).

Thoughts on Sackhoff’s casting? Is this going to be 24‘s best day ever? Comment away below!

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