Designated Survivor has been canceled, once again. Starring 24’s Kiefer Sutherland, Designated Survivor premiered in 2016 on ABC. After its sophomore run, ABC gave the series the ax, however, Netflix resurrected the show and officially ordered a season 3 to air on the streaming service.
Created by David Guggenheim, Designated Survivor follows Tom Kirkman (Sutherland), a low-level cabinet member who’s thrust into the presidency after a terrorist attack during the State of the Union wipes out all predecessors for the office. After the fast-paced first two seasons following Kirkman's professional and personal struggles trying to restore order to the country, ABC opted to cancel the political drama due to low ratings. Netflix picked up Designated Survivor for 10 episodes, and also added the first two seasons for streaming. Placed in the creative hands of showrunner Neal Baer (ER, Law & Order: SVU) - the fifth showrunner the show had since its conception - season 3 dived into the cutthroat world of campaigning and ended with a clear set up for season 4. Unfortunately, the President’s outcome will remain uncertain.
According to TV Line, Netflix has vetoed all hope for a Designated Survivor season 4. Several viewers claimed season 3 was average in comparison to the episodes that aired on ABC, and took issue with the TV-MA rated language and content. While disappointing news for fans of the show, the cancellation is not a shock, as Sutherland previously stated a season 4 would tote contract difficulties. Netflix expressed their farewell to the political thriller:
We are proud to have offered fans a third season of Designated Survivor and will continue to carry all three seasons for years to come. We’re especially thankful to star and executive producer Keifer Sutherland, who brought passion, dedication and an unforgettable performance as President Kirkman. We’re also grateful to showrunner/executive producer Neal Baer for his guiding vision and steady hand, creator/executive producer David Guggenheim and EP’s Mark Gordon, Suzan Bymel, Simon Kinberg, Aditya Sood and Peter Noah along with the cast and crew who crafted a compelling and satisfying final season.
Along with Designated Survivor, Netflix has also canceled animated comedy series Tuca & Bertie, which starred Tiffany Haddish and Ali Wong. Netflix executives have stated their focus is on churning out a massive volume of new originals each year. The streaming giant's cancellation decisions appear to run on an examining cost vs. viewership basis, although many would argue that they're too quick to drop the axe.
Designated Survivor is an example of how a revival by a different network can breath new life into a series. Lucifer, Last Man Standing, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine found new homes after their cancellations and thrived. While Designated Survivor’s fate appears to be set in stone, today’s era of reboots and revivals solidifies that there’s no statute of limitations on raising a show from the dead. Designated Survivor season 3 may not be the last time Sutherland makes an appearance as President Kirkman.
Source: TV Line