There is no reason to keep adjusting your TV set – do people still do that? – for Kiefer Sutherland is returning to the primetime TV schedule this fall, possibly while growling and yelling dammit at everyone. His newest project, ABC’s D.C.-set Designated Survivor, did not have to wait around in the pilot stage for very long, and the network has officially put in a series order for the drama. Check out the first teaser!
As we’re currently in the middle of an out of control election season, what could be better than watching Kiefer Sutherland becoming the President of the United States? Not that he’ll be elected into office. The name of the show refers to the story-shaping event in the first episode, where Washington D.C. is the target of a massive attack, and Sutherland’s Tom Kirkman is the person who has to take over as POTUS when there’s no one left as his superior. Few situations can possibly put someone under more pressure, and Kirkman immediately has to focus on protecting both the country and his family while staving off widespread panic.

No episode count was given, so we’ll probably see an initial 13-episode pickup followed by additional episode orders after it’s known how audiences feel about the show. According to THR, Designated Survivor apparently ranked up there with the best-tested pilots that ABC has ever delivered. Plus, it looks to be more of a procedural drama rather than something strictly serialized. That’ll be a shift for the network, which is riding on the current successes of shows like American Crime and Quantico, but not an unwelcome one, given there’s a more elaborate structure to the concept than “rando cops in a metro area” that some procedurals offer up.

Designated Survivor was created by David Guggenheim, who wrote the pilot’s script and is executive producing alongside Sutherland, Simon Kinberg and others. Guggenheim was the guy behind the films Safe House and Stolen, and while neither one of those really lit Hollywood on fire, he’s a major grab in the biz, having been tapped for drafts of Uncharted and Bad Boys 3. While former Sex and the City writer/producer Amy B. Harris was to serve as the showrunner in the event of a series order, she won’t be moving forward with the drama, and the producers have yet to bring in a replacement.

Though he had that Touch series for a couple of seasons, Kiefer Sutherland is best known to TV audiences as Jack Bauer on Fox’s 24. The spinoff 24: Legacy is currently moving forward with Sutherland recently taking a role as an executive producer, which has softened his stance against reprising Bauer in the future. It would obviously require some schedule shuffling now, but how amazing would it be to have Sutherland saving a president on one network and saving someone AS the president elsewhere?

Now to start wondering just where Designated Survivor will fit into ABC’s packed schedule. We bet it won’t debut on a Thursday, though.

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