MIPCOM: Kiefer Sutherland Laments "Bizarre and Unfortunate" Election Season

Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC

The 'Designated Survivor' star gave a keynote address in Cannes.

Kiefer Sutherland says the U.S. campaign season is so "negative and so polarizing," he hopes Designated Survivor, his ABC drama about the presidency, can bring calm and intelligence back to American political discourse.

"In the United States, this is the most bizarre and unfortunate political election cycle I've ever witnessed in my lifetime. And I still remember Watergate," the 24 star told a MIPCOM audience during a keynote address in Cannes on Monday. Sutherland said any comments or criticism of the competing White House runs by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton overlooks "there's people that are backing these candidates."

"And that is the part that is kind of alarming to me, that lack of flexibility, the inability to listen to another's point of view, the rigidity of it all," he added. As an antidote to a nasty U.S. presidential race, Sutherland offered Designated Survivor, where the Hollywood actor's fish-out-of-water President Tom Kirkman confronts a pressure cooker of a White House, but still listens to political voices on both sides of the Congressional aisle.

"So the idea, in the context of this show, is we can have points of view from the left, from the center and from the right and each is discussed factually correctly, calmly and intelligently — I think is really important," Sutherland said.

"There's a great responsibility in that. We have a great opportunity to add some elastic back to political discourse in the United States, and if we can accomplish that, I will be really proud of our show," he added.

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