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One of the most shocking cancellations of the 2017-2018 TV season came when ABC announced that Designated Survivor was getting the axe after only two seasons. The series, which starred proven leading man Kiefer Sutherland, was a major hit right out of the gate, and although ratings dropped and there were some behind-the-scenes issues, the odds seemed in favor of Designated Surviving getting a third season. Now, there's finally some good news for fans, almost four full months after the cancellation. Designated Survivor will be back for a third season, this time at Netflix.
The third season of Designated Survivor will run for ten episodes, with production slated to kick off later this year with the goal of a 2019 premiere. Talks with Netflix began shortly after distributor Entertainment One began to shop the series around to outlets other than ABC, but there was no news for quite a while, and hopes of a renewal at Netflix or anywhere else seemed dashed.
As it turns out, the long delay in the official renewal was not altogether due to Netflix waffling on whether or not Designated Survivor is worth the investment. The situation was complicated by the fact that Hulu held the streaming video on demand rights to the two seasons of Designated Survivor that had aired on ABC. Netflix was covered on the international scene, with only the U.S. and Canadian markets lacking rights to the series. Deadline reports that an agreement with Hulu was finally reached, and users can expect both Designated Survivor seasons to arrive exclusively on Netflix at some point this fall. The series was originally co-produced by Entertainment One and ABC Studios; ABC Studios will not be involved moving forward.
The show will return with a new showrunner: former ER and Law & Order: SVU producer Neal Baer, who had been attached as Designated Survivor's fifth -- yes, fifth -- showrunner prior to the initial cancellation. Baer and Kiefer Sutherland had reportedly been working on new directions for the third season while the discussions with Netflix were ongoing. It sounds like both were excited at the prospect of the series getting a second life at the streaming service! In addition to Kiefer Sutherland, returning cast members include Kal Penn, Adan Canto, and Italia Ricci.
Season 3 of Designated Survivor will see Tom Kirkman forced to actually campaign for the office of President of the United States for the first time. Accusations of "fake news" will affect his campaign, as will smear tactics, debates, and campaign finance. Democracy could be pushed to a breaking point depending on how the campaign goes, and we can bet that the ten episodes of the third season will be pretty politically intense. Given how Season 2 ended, all viewers should be thrilled that the cliffhanger will be resolved.
Designated Survivor marks the second high-profile Netflix rescue of a cancelled show from the 2017-2018 TV season after the streaming giant stepped in and nabbed Lucifer earlier this year. Swing by our 2018 Netflix premiere guide for some current and upcoming streaming options. If you need to catch up on what's going to be available on network TV, check out our fall TV schedule.