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The last time we got a weekly fix of Kiefer Sutherland on the small screen, he was trying to save the life of President Heller on 24: Live Another Day. Well, the actor has expressly stated he will not reprise the iconic role of Jack Bauer again in the near future, but he does have a brand new TV series on the way, as ABC has given the straight-to-series order for the conspiracy thriller Designated Survivor.
As the lead on Designated Survivor, Sutherland will play a member of the United States Cabinet, but one of the lower-ranked ones. He finds himself suddenly destined for the Oval Office as the appointed President after a massive attack during a State of the Union leaves the POTUS, the V.P. and everyone else above Sutherland’s paygrade dead. That’s one of the craziest and saddest promotions one can possibly earn, and is basically the thought process behind the real-life titular designation. Someone’s gotta live long enough to run the country, after all.
According to Deadline, Designated Survivor is being described as a conspiracy thriller wrapped up inside a family drama, where one normal person finds himself in a situation that’s anything but normal. So Sutherland is going from saving the president to actually becoming one, and in a show that wouldn’t exactly sound out of place at a brainstorming session for a new season of 24.
Sutherland isn’t the only big name attached to the show, either. Landing at ABC after a major bidding war, Designated Survivor is being written by David Guggenheim, the scribe behind Safe House and the as-yet-unproduced screenplays for Bad Boys 3 and the video game adaptation Uncharted. As well, the drama will be executive produced by Simon Kinberg, the guy behind The Martian and several films in the X-Men franchise (among others), and Mark Gordon Company will be producing. Gordon has been behind ABC hits like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Quantico.
Sutherland played the role of Jack Bauer for almost 200 episodes of 24 proper, not counting the TV movie 24: Redemption and the limited series 24: Live Another Day. (That show will be moving forward with new characters in the future.) Sutherland had the drama Touch for Fox in his time between day-long missions, and since then, he’s appeared in an episode of Playhouse Presents, an episode of Top Gear, and served as the narrator of the Canadian doc series Keeping Canada Alive. We’re more than happy to have him back in a new project, and it’ll hopefully be as fun and bonkers as 24 was.
There’s no word yet on when Designated Survivor will be coming to our TVs. Such a high-profile thriller would likely be prepped for a fall season, but it might depend on how many episodes they’re looking to put together. Either way, we’ll be waiting for it. Probably in the bunker where we’re safe.