Fall TV Preview
DESIGNATED SURVIVOR Kiefer Sutherland

ABC's Designated Survivor Trailer Debuts — Plus: Watch Previews for Conviction, Notorious and More

Along with announcing its fall 2016 schedule, ABC on Tuesday unveiled sneak peeks of its new shows, including Kiefer Sutherland’s POTUS thriller Designated Survivor, legal drama Conviction and Minnie Driver comedy Speechless.

On the midseason front, trailers were also released for Shondaland’s Romeo and Juliet follow-up Still Star-Crossed, Jenna Elfman laugher Imaginary Mary and more.

Watch the trailers in their entirety below, preceded by the logline for each series:

Designated Survivor (Wednesdays, 10/9c)
Centers on a lower level United States Cabinet member who is suddenly handed the presidency after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union address kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession.

American Housewife (Tuesdays, 8:30/7:30c)
A family comedy narrated by Katie, a strong-willed mother, raising her flawed family in a wealthy town filled with “perfect” wives and their “perfect” offspring.

Conviction (Mondays, 10/9c)
Tells the story of Carter Morrison, the brilliant but ne’er-do-well daughter of a former U.S. president, who is blackmailed into taking a job as the head of Los Angeles’ newly created Conviction Integrity Unit. She, along with her team of lawyers, investigators and forensic experts, work together to examine cases where there’s credible suspicion that the wrong person may have been convicted of a crime.

Downward Dog (Midseason)
Based on the web series of the same name, this comedy follows a down-on-her-luck woman named Nan whose devoted dog speaks its mind in confessional-style interviews.

Imaginary Mary (Midseason)
Centers on a thirtysomething bachelorette whose life is turned upside-down when she finally meets the love of her life — a divorced father with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend she created as an only child suddenly reappears in her life to help her navigate the transition from single girl to a woman ready for a family.

Notorious (Thursdays, 9/8c)
Inspired by the true-life stories of famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and cable news producer Wendy Walker, the series is a provocative look at the unique, sexy, and dangerous interplay of criminal law and the media.

Speechless (Wednesdays, 8:30/7:30c)
A family with a special-needs child is good at dealing with the challenges it faces and excellent at creating new ones.

Still Star-Crossed (Midseason)
A period drama that picks up where Romeo and Juliet left off, charting the treachery, palace intrigue and ill-fated romances of the Montagues and Capulets in the wake of the young lovers’ tragic fate. Based on the book by Melinda Taub.

Time After Time (Midseason)
Using the 1979 novel and movie as a starting point, the series chronicles the epic adventures of young H.G. Wells and his Time Machine.

Your thoughts on ABC’s fresh fare? Drop ’em in the comments section below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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89 Comments
  1. Ray says:

    Designated Survivor trailer is linked three times. I know its in the title of the article, but sheesh.

  2. M3rc_Nate says:

    Designated Survivor looks good, but besides that…ABC has an issue with their shows. They lack…grit i guess you could say. Any sort of edge. They are so plain, so by the book, so Disney. Even Designated Survivor…it could have a 24 edge, or a Homeland edge, or a West Wing edge, or even the edge of Madam Secretary, but it doesn’t. It feels very vanilla. That is a great way to describe these ABC shows, pure 100% vanilla. Safe, regular, by the book, formulaic, no edge, no twist, nothing. Just 100% vanilla.

    • Eric H says:

      I’d say the problem with most of ABC’s dramas is they go heavy on the soap opera-y melodrama (likely due to them trying to copy all the Sondraland shows) and not on actual edge and grit. Another problem I see is they’re continuing to double-down on their female demo while still not having anything for males. Of all the new shows, almost everyone seems like it skews heavily female, except for maybe Designated Survivor and Time after Time.

      • M3rc_Nate says:

        Agreed. And 6 of the 9 shows here have a female lead of the show and 1 of the 9 is a Shonda Rhimes show about a love story so obviously that leans heavily towards melodrama, soapyness, and female interests.

      • Lysh says:

        Nail on the head! Like, Quantico looked really interesting to me last year because I’m slightly obsessed with the FBI, but the pilot was so Grey’s Anatomy-like…I’m sure it’s great, but I couldn’t get into it.

      • Alice says:

        I’d rather that be the case then ABC be like CBS, which cancels any show that skews too female. It’s not like there aren’t 50+ shows about surly male detectives you could watch elsewhere.

        • Eric H says:

          It didn’t pick up that show because it was also full in its 8 and 9 PM timeslots. Plus, people who saw the pilot or read the script said it was poorly done and had basically lost all semblance of the original character. It may have well been “nondescript female NYPD detective who happens to have the same name as a famous teen female detective from yesteryear.”

        • M3rc_Nate says:

          Over dramatic much? You realize that they didn’t pick up Nancy Drew (female lead) and instead picked up “Doubt” which is lead by Katherine Heigl? Two shows with female leads were competing for that time-slot, one was picked up the other wasn’t. What is so anti-female about that?

          • Julia says:

            “Deadline reports that the pilot tested well with audiences but was deemed “too female” for the network” actual quote from a tvline article. so

      • Stacy says:

        Agreed. I was excited for Conviction, but after seeing the promo I’m disappointed. Designated Survivor looks pretty good, however.

    • Theresa says:

      Basically you are saying they are crap!

    • J says:

      You are 100% right. The dramas are very cookie cutter and melodramatic , but I do feel like ABC has some of the better comedies currently on TV.

    • Babygate says:

      This is such a great to articulate it! I agree. While I’m a huge Jack Bauer fan and will very likely tune in to D.S. in the fall, it didn’t grip me the way I thought it would. It feels safe, like the producers/writers were holding back.

  3. mike says:

    I be watching Designated Survivor Time after time and Conviction

  4. kirads09 says:

    I will watch Conviction because I love Hayley and it looks interesting.
    Designated Survivor already has MAJOR HIT written all over it – just that trailer has me hooked 1000X over.

    • MissEllys says:

      DS looks very promising. Excellent cast.

    • ? says:

      I’m in for Designated Survivor. I was interested in Conviction but this trailer put me off it. Still will probably check out the pilot. Time After Time might be good or it might not even get a chance. It just screams “Never Actually Gets on the Schedule” to me. We’ll see. Other than that I think the rest of these look like dreck, none worse than Notorious though.

      • Designated Survivor looks worthy of a few views. Also, Time After Time (if it’s as good as the book) also interests me, and seems to have an “Elementary” feel to it. None of the comedies seem worth the time. And please, no more Shonda-Bland stuff, I beg you.

  5. 24Fan says:

    So Kiefer Sutherland is Laura Roslin from BSG.

  6. MissEllys says:

    These comedies look awful.

  7. Rob says:

    Downward Dog looks like an abomination.

  8. Rob says:

    And I’m still not sure I know what Notorious is about.

    • MissEllys says:

      It’s about a news producer and a lawyer who team up and no doubt hook up while trying to help his clients and boost her TV ratings.

      • Rob says:

        Thanks. But yeah that’s not good enough for me and it’s definitely not a TGIT show. Conviction seems more TGIT. Notorious seems more CBEF (Cancelled by Episode Five)

  9. 1mars says:

    Designed Survivor looks good, I’ll watch this over 24 any day of the week based solely on the trailers.

  10. pamill says:

    I had a weird reaction to these. Usually I really like one or two, really hate one or two and don’t care enough about the rest to even finish their trailers.

    But with this bunch, I found every premise interesting enough to watch the trailer, I kind of liked them all but nothing really stuck.

    P.S. Still, I will watch at least a few pilots : Conviction and Downward Dog because I really like the leads in those two.

  11. Annie says:

    OK, apparently, I lied earlier when I said there was nothing in the ABC lineup to tempt me. I’ll give Designated Survivor a shot. I perceive something almost … rote? formulaic? about it in the trailer, but that could be way off base, and neither of the Sutherlands usually disappoint.

  12. Whatevah says:

    Okay..other than the Romeo and Juliet show all of these look pretty good. I’ll give them a try. Why not?

  13. Walkie says:

    I’m worried about Designated Survivor. It looks cliched. I hope they take some new avenues.

    Anything with Hayley Atwell is worth watching.

  14. Alex says:

    Gosh, everything looks just bad.

  15. tallsy says:

    I kinda liked Designated Survivor until it devolved into “Who did the attack?” nonsense. Notorious looks absolutely awful. I thought Convinction’s premise was just trite, in reality it’s utterly preposterous. Time After Time looks like a movie rather than a TV show (we’ll see whether that’s a compliment or not). Still Star-Crossed looks fine for what it is.

    The less said about comedies the better.

  16. lariet50 says:

    I’m super into Designated Survivor. Hope it lives up to the trailer.

  17. Emma Peel says:

    Pretty sure I need “Speechless” in my life.

  18. ndixit says:

    Apart from Designated Survivor, none of these look good. Conviction looks sort of boring and a very stereotypical redemption story. Time After Time is definitely the less interesting time travel drama and I am not even sure what Notorious is about after watching the trailer.

  19. Murica! says:

    Designated Survivor looks like it could be interesting, but the rest look really bad.

  20. Scotty2Hotty says:

    Another crappy year ahead for ABC. Designated Survivor looks good everything else looks horrible. Still Star Crossed looks like the worst of Shondaland mashed together.

  21. Lysh says:

    Gosh, there’s so many! Designated Survivor isn’t my type of show, but that was a REALLY interesting trailer and I may check it out. I feel like I saw the entire episode of Conviction in the trailer and it looks so eh, but I love Hayley Atwell, I’m torn.
    Jenna Elfman reminds me of Emily Bett Richards somehow and the show reminds me of that Jane Lynch show that got canceled. I hope it works out better for her, but I’ll probably pass on it.

  22. arial2 says:

    Designated Survivor: Given the “low-level cabinet member suddenly becomes President” premise, I’m going to guess the attackers were Cylons. And, is the new President a descendant of Laura Rosliln’s bloodline? “This has all happened before; it will all happen again” (Ron Moore’s reimagined Battlestar Galactica)

  23. Kerk says:

    Conviction looks good. Notorious may be entertaining. The other dramas look boring. They will have a major issue with their comedy lineup though. Not one of these looks the least bit interesting or particularly funny and they seem so formulaic it’s hard to believe they passed on Hail Mary to do these generic nonsense.

  24. Rick Kitchen says:

    Yuck. A series based on Mark Geragos? He’s a disgusting person.

  25. Kristina says:

    Hayley Atwell playing a bad girl. This is gonna be fun. :)

  26. Aside from Conviction and Speechless, they all look like they’ll be canceled by this time next year

  27. Kevin K says:

    Designated Survivor is destined to become a breakout hit for ABC as does Conviction (going up against Timeless in the 10 pm Monday night time slot). Speechless is hilarious with comedic presence by Minnie Driver. Don’t know if Time After Time is going to be a great time traveling series than Timeless nor Making History. Not sold on the rest: Notorious, American Housewife, Downward Dog, Imaginary Mary and Still Star-Crossed.

  28. Time after Time and Conviction for me :)

  29. volcfom says:

    None of the premises pull me in. The casting, however, is very good. I may have to check out pilots for that reason alone.

  30. It might be a short tenure for the new ABC prez, as all of these look bad. I agree with others tha they all seem bland despite their unique premises (handicapped kid, talking dog, imaginary friend, etc.) Surprisingly, so far, Fox has the best looking pilots. I even somewhat liked the Lethal Weapon trailer, which I thought I would hate for sure.

  31. tallsy says:

    Where’s Ryan Guzman in the Notorious trailer? He’s the only reason I’d consider it.

  32. Kris Schmidt says:

    Designated Survivor, Speechless, Conviction, and Imaginary Mary(only because of Rachel Dratch aka Debbie Downer :P) are the only ones I will be trying. I’m just shocked that for once, I like the FOX pilots way more than the ABC ones…

  33. Kris Schmidt says:

    Here are my thoughts on ABC’S new shows:
    Designated Survivor: Definitely watching! Seems like it could be a breakout hit for ABC.
    American Housewife: Meh. Just meh.
    Conviction: Looks great! Glad to have Hayley Atwell back on TV!!
    Downward Dog: Am I the only one that the dog had a romantic thing for the owner? On another note, there is no way it isn’t cancelled by this time next year..
    Imaginary Mary: Will be either great or terrible. I’ll watch, but only for Rachel Dratch
    Notorious: The worst looking show I have seen a trailer for yet. That’s it, plain and simple.
    Speechless: Not amazed by it, but I will definitely at least try it for a few episodes.
    Still Star Crossed: No for me. Will probably succeed just because of Shonda Rhimes’ name.
    Time After Time: It doesn’t look bad, but I will watch Timeless instead…

  34. Chiara Osborne says:

    LOVING Designated Survivor and Speechless. Probably the only 2 I will tune in too.

  35. jenna says:

    not really interested in any of these. So far it looks like fox has the best offerings

  36. Conviction looked cool (yay Hayley Atwell!) but the trailer seemed like it was the whole episode. Speechless looks funny – I love Minnie Driver. The other comedies looked really blah and kind of weird. The voiceover on Still Star-Crossed was WAY melodramatic – I couldn’t quite get past it.

  37. Bill says:

    I am absolutely speechless. What is ABC thinking, greenlighting these comedies? American Housewife….wow. Fat jokes. Ha ha. Downward Dog looks awful, stupid, unfunny and as woefully sentimental as a very-special-episode of Full House. And Imaginary Mary looks like the worst sitcom in the history of television. This garbage makes Work It look like Cheers. What a pathetic lineup.

  38. Daniel snow says:

    Time after time is the sci-fi version of sleepy hollow. Which is fine because I’m pretty sure I quit that show

  39. jericho says:

    Downward Dog? Disney already made this series… for KIDS its called Dog with a Blog.

  40. Babygate says:

    Designated Survivor looks the most promising, but Kal Penn’s performance is very weak. Hopefully it’ll get better. Still, love Kiefer Sutherland so this is my fave so far. Imaginary Mary looks actually rather likeable. Don’t know that I’d watch but I’ll probably give it a try. I wanted to like Conviction so much but no dice. It looks like it relies too much on Hayley’s appeal/star power and it doesn’t try too hard to be smart or compelling. And Hayley’s accent makes numerous appearances. Which is fine by me. I love her accent. I do like the supporting cast though. Happy that Emily Kinney got a break on a network prime-time show.
    While Ive always been drawn to the concept of time travel, Time after Time is not appealing at all. It’s flat. Like an old BBC show. Another flop-to-be is Star-Crossed. Who gave this pilot the green light???? But still, the worst of the bunch may be Notorious. Daniel Sunjata has a tendency to overact and try to be too charming and this is no exception. I’m not sure what the hook is supposed to be for this show. Too bad, I was looking forward to Piper’s return to TV after Covert Affairs.
    Oh well, there’s always next year, ABC.

  41. who approved this garbage? o right, it’s abc doing its best to get the same low ratings as the CW

  42. luke says:

    I love Hayley, she’s freakin amazing, but why take this role? Is there nothing else out there for you Hayley?

  43. mqfan says:

    Good to see Maggie Q back in action. I have missed her since nikita.

  44. Cathy says:

    Designated Survivor: Looks interesting; will need high ratings to justify its survival, due to the prominent names in the cast, which will equal high production costs. Oh, and Kiefer needs new glasses, those look like they’re from the Nixon era.

    American Housewife: I like Katie Mixon, so I hope this one works. It will depend on how solid the cast and the writing are, and if the characters she interacts with are more than one-dimensional rich housewives.

    Conviction: Good cast, but with a producer of Grey’s Anatomy, and the sister of Channing Dungey, I give it better than average odds, because unless it’s really horrible, it will probably get a full season order quickly.

    Downward Dog: I’ll give it a chance. I’m a big dog person. But if it doesn’t have more to that, I’ll be out.

    • Cathy says:

      Kripke from Big Bang Theory is on Speechless. Glad he got a full-time gig, but sad he won’t be on BBT. Time After Time looks good.

    • WingsStef says:

      Designated Survivor sounds interesting. There was a movie or TV show that had a similar idea, it was the Secretary of Education that got the presidency. I can’t remember which one, it was years ago. Conviction might be interesting. Downward Dog looked cutie that I thought it would be. Looks like they are doing the evil cat trope though… aww. I like both, but anyway.

  45. Bark Star says:

    Why are they bringing back the trailer narrator ? For more than a decade we could do without ! Has the american audiences IQ dropped this drastically ?

  46. WingsStef says:

    I know it is a “re-imaginating” but wasn’t the main moral of Romeo and Juliet that the families decided to stop their dumb feud because it caused the deaths of their children? That sure it I am sure it will be an enjoyable romp for many and wish it luck. However, I don’t think it is my cup of tea. However, Time After Time sounds interesting. Oh time riffs, what a trip!

  47. Joey Padron says:

    Designated Survivior, Conviction, and Speechless looks good. Notorious looks pretty good. I will check out these shows.

  48. As the non of a nonverbal kiddo, I’ll give Speechless a try. But shows with handicapped kids have a fine line to walk so I don’t expect it to last that long…

  49. Rene says:

    Can’t wait for Designated Survivor! I know the character probably won’t see as much action as Jack but I think what is going to be great about this show is watching Kiefer give the character his grit and backbone and proving to those around him,and maybe himself too, that he’s got what it takes and will do the right thing.

  50. Designated Survivor looks FANTASTIC! Conviction has potential. The trailer for Notorious doesn’t display (indicates it is “private content”) — but it sounds good.