Kiefer Sutherland to Play President in ABC Drama Series 'Designated Survivor'

Keifer Sutherland

Sutherland is the son of successful Canadian actor Donald Sutherland. His maternal grandfather was Scottish-born Canadian politician Tommy Douglas, who is widely credited for bringing universal health care to Canada.

Kiefer Sutherland is returning to the small screen.

The 24: Live Another Day alum will star in Designated Survivor, a dramatic thriller that has been ordered straight-to-series at ABC, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The drama will be written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), who will exec produce alongside Simon Kinberg (The Martian, X-Men) and his Genre Films banner, Sutherland and Entertainment 360's Suzan Bymel

Designated Survivor centers on a lower-level United States cabinet member (Sutherland) who is suddenly appointed president after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the presidential line of succession. The series, which does not yet have an episode count, is described as a family drama wrapped around a conspiracy thriller about an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation.

The series hails from the Mark Gordon Co. Studios (Quantico, Grey's Anatomy), and marks the banner's first series pickup since it was launched as a stand-alone company based at Entertainment One. ABC Studios will co-produce alongside MGCeOne will handle international distribution.

The drama marks ABC's first new scripted series addition for the 2016-17 broadcast season. Designated Survivor, taking its title from the U.S. Presidential Succession Act put in place to protect the order of succession, becomes the latest straight-to-series order as broadcast networks look to lure top concepts, stars and producers amid an increasingly competitive scripted landscape. 

For Sutherland, the role marks his latest TV foray since he reprised his role as Jack Bauer in Fox limited series 24: Live Another Day. The drama comes as Fox has expressed interest in continuing the 24 franchise — without Sutherland.

Crime and military thrillers are among the biggest trends this development season as networks look to build on the success of Serial and American Sniper.

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