‘Designated Survivor’: ABC Premiere Available On Netflix For International Audience, With New Episodes Every Thursday

The first episode of ABC’s Designated Survivor was met with a good deal of critical acclaim when it premiered last week. So much so that streaming provider Netflix has signed a new deal in order to stream the series for the international market. While Designated Survivor will continue to air on ABC in North America, the rest of the world will be able to watch the new series starring Kiefer Sutherland via the incredibly popular Netflix streaming platform.

According to Deadline, the first episode of Designated Survivor was available to stream via Netflix the day after it aired on ABC. That being said, unlike other exclusive series from Netflix, Designated Survivor won’t be available on the streaming service as a box set. Instead, Netflix has confirmed that new episodes of the series will be available each Thursday, the day after they air on ABC. Netflix definitely appears to be enthusiastic about Designated Survivor, already promoting the series prominently.

However, it did take a while for the series to be picked up by an international broadcaster. In the United Kingdom, there was speculation that broadcasters, including Sky, Channel 4, and Channel 5, were all bidding to air Designated Survivor. However, it was Netflix that eventually secured the series as part of an international arrangement.


While Netflix traditionally streams a combination of post-release box sets and its own original series, the provider has recently signed a number of lucrative deals to provide North American shows to international audiences. The deal involving Designated Survivor is similar to a deal struck between Netflix and CBS earlier this year when the streaming provider was given the right to provide Star Trek: Discovery to audiences outside of the country, signalling a change in Netflix’s content strategy.

That being said, Netflix won’t be showing the series exclusively outside of the U.S. In Canada, the series airs on CTV, which was a deal agreed before Netflix gained rights to broadcast the series internationally. However, it is possible that Netflix could gain the rights to show the series in Canada alongside CTV.


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According to the Guardian, the season premiere follows Tom Kirkman, played by Kiefer Sutherland, best known for his role as action man Jack Bauer in 24. During a fictional State of the Union address, a decapitation attack takes the lives of the president and all cabinet members except Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman. Despite being all but sacked earlier in the day, Kirkman steps into the most powerful shoes in the world and attempts to lead a nation in shock.

Sutherland has already received a good deal of critical acclaim for his performance in the season premiere, with Designated Survivor being heralded as a spiritual successor to 24, the incredibly popular action series that made Sutherland one of the most prominent names on television. That being said, Designated Survivor didn’t receive all praise for its opening episode. Many viewers felt that ABC’s new series is just a little over the top in dramatizing what could be a very real scenario.


The aforementioned deal with Netflix is undeniably good news for international audiences, which would have otherwise missed out on Kiefer Sutherland’s latest performance in Designated Survivor. It could also mean that Netflix has a preemptive entitlement to the series when it finishes airing on ABC.

For now, though, Designated Survivor looks to be a fairly promising series for both Netflix and ABC going forward.

[Featured Image by ABC]