Designated Survivor Saved! Netflix Rescues Axed Kiefer Sutherland Drama


It appears there has been a recount! As foreshadowed by our August 13 Blind Item, the Kiefer Sutherland drama Designated Survivorcancelled last May at ABC — has been resurrected by Netflix, with the streamer ordering a 10-episode Season 3.

Netflix confirmed the news late Wednesday, while also announcing that Neal Baer (Law & Order: SVU, Under the Dome) has taken over showrunner duties. This marks the series’ fourth showrunner change in two years. To recap: Amy B. Harris (Wicked City) originally served as showrunner on the series (which was created by David Guggenheim), only to be replaced in May 2016 upon its official pickup, with Jon Harmon Feldman (Blood & Oil). Feldman left in the middle of Season 1, and was succeeded by Jeff Melvoin (Army Wives). And then in May 2017, it was announced that The Good Wife grad Keith Eisner would take the reins for Season 2.

In last May’s Season 2 finale, Sutherland’s President Kirkman announced a bid for re-election, catching his staff quite, but pleasantly, off-guard. When Season 3 picks up, Kirkman “will face a political reality — campaigning,” per the official logline supplied by Netflix. “What does it take to make a leader? What price will he be willing to pay? Democracy, as we know it, will hang in the balance.” This new season will also “explore today’s world of campaigning, smear tactics, debates, campaign finance and ‘fake news.'” 

In a statement, Sutherland said, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play President Kirkman for Season 3 of Designated Survivor on Netflix… I believe this format will allow us to continue to delve deeply into storylines and issues concerning the American electorate that were not previously possible.”

Added EP Mark Gordon: “The continuation of the show via Netflix is a win-win for all involved. The story of President Kirkman and those around him has not been fully told and we look forward to working with our new partner in continuing the show for a global audience.”

Designated Survivor Season 3 is expected to premiere on Netflix in 2019.

Thoughts on Designated Survivor‘s death-defying return? Do you think the series will fare better with a shorter episode order? 

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