‘Designated Survivor’ Air Date: New Details Around ABC’s State Of The Union Political Drama With ’24’ Star Kiefer Sutherland

Kiefer Sutherland in ABC's Designated Survivor

24 was undeniably one of the biggest political dramas of its time. Whilst a number of shows have tried desperately to mimic its success, none have come close to providing the stellar performance offered by Kiefer Sutherland in the series which ended in 2014. However, ABC is certainly hoping to achieve just that with a new political drama starring Sutherland himself.

Kiefer Sutherland is, of course, best known for his role as action man Jack Bauer in political drama 24. He now looks set to reprise a similar role in ABC’s upcoming political drama, Designated Survivor. The concept for the show is set around the annual State of the Union address made by the president, as an explosion claims the life of the president and all other cabinet members. However, Sutherland’s character, Tom Kirkman, is named as the designated survivor and kept in a secure location during the address.

Immediately following the attack, Kirkman is sworn in as president. He must then begin a fight for his life and country as the United States’ president during a time of emergency. Designated Survivor definitely looks set to be a high-octane addition to ABC’s library of political dramas, which includes the incredibly popular Scandal.

ABC hasn’t provided a firm air date for the series as of yet, however, according to Heavy, ABC has placed Designated Survivor in their fall 2016 schedule, meaning that the series will premiere this year. However, whether or not it will take a mid-season break or run throughout the season remains to be seen. At the same time, ABC has also scheduled Kiefer Sutherland’s new show to take the 10 p.m. slot on Wednesdays, following their dual-comedy slot of Modern Family and Black-ish.


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According to Yahoo, Kiefer Sutherland has said he’s incredibly excited about upcoming production for Designated Survivor, heralding similarities between the new series from ABC and 24, Fox’s incredibly successful political drama. That being said, the series also means that Sutherland is unlikely to make a return to 24 in its upcoming reboot, news that is undeniably bound to disappoint fans of the show that existed long before political dramas became a popular TV genre.

Despite the premiere of Designated Survivor being a good few months away, ABC has started building excitement around Kiefer Sutherland’s next big TV outing, have released the full-length trailer for the show last month. It’s easy to understand that the series is set to be a big event for ABC.

That aforementioned recently released trailer provides a clear idea of the direction of Designated Survivor. Like 24 before it, Kiefer Sutherland looks set to use his character to build suspense, which will presumably keep viewers tuning in from week to week. Along with the newfound responsibilities of taking up the most powerful position in the world, the trailer sees Tom Kirkman dealing with the affect those responsibilities have on himself and his family.

It’s hard to deny that Designated Survivor will be a series with action at its heart. However, ABC is also keen to get the political aspects of the show correct too. In fact, the show’s producers have hired Kal Penn, formerly an associate director for the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, to consult on the series. Designated Survivor deals with the real life concept that a member of the Presidential Line of Succession must always be absent from high-profile public events, and it’s important for ABC to get that just right.

[Image via ABC]