Designated Survivor is an American political drama television series created by David Guggenheim that aired on ABC. Kiefer Sutherland stars as Thomas Kirkman, an American politician named the designated survivor for the State of the Union address, who suddenly ascends to the position of President after an explosion kills everyone ranked ahead of him in the line of succession. Kirkman deals with his inexperience as President while looking to uncover the truth behind the attack.
The project skipped the pilot stage and was ordered straight to series on December 14, 2015, followed by a formal announcement on May 6, 2016. The first episode premiered on September 21, 2016, with a full season order coming eight days later. The series was renewed for a second season on May 11, 2017, which premiered on September 27, 2017. On May 11, 2018, ABC canceled the series.
However, on September 5, 2018, Netflix and Entertainment One (which both held the international & distribution rights to Designated Survivor) picked up the series for a third season of 10 episodes, to be released in 2019 with production being solely handled by Entertainment One.
On the night of the President’s State of the Union address, an explosion destroys the United States Capitol building and claims the lives of the President and everyone in the line of succession except for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Thomas Kirkman, who had been named the designated survivor. Kirkman is immediately sworn in as President, unaware that the attack is just the beginning of what is to come.