Netflix may bring back the Kiefer Sutherland thriller series Designated Survivor, which was recently canceled by ABC. The TV revival trend has lately taken a new turn. Not only are long-dead series being brought back, but recently canceled ones are also finding new, relatively instantaneous life. As a result, network and streaming schedules have begun looking like a game of musical chairs.
For example, when FOX last week went on a canceling spree, the well-liked sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine found itself on the wrong end of the network axe. Social media immediately lit up with calls for the show to return, and several streaming outlets reportedly became interested in mounting a revival. Ultimately, the traditional network NBC stepped into the fray and picked up the show for season 6, now set to premiere in 2019.
The above narrative has become the apparent new normal on the series landscape. Now, as reported by Deadline, Netflix has its own plans to revive another recently canceled show, the Kiefer Sutherland thriller Designated Survivor. The series, starring Sutherland as a low-level cabinet member swept into the presidency after a terrorist attack, aired on ABC for two seasons. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey cited "challenging" Live + Same Day numbers as a reason for the cancellation.
Produced by eOne, Designated Survivor debuted to strong ratings in 2016, drawing around 5 million viewers per week on average. However, on today's landscape regular ratings mean a lot less than they used to when it comes to determining a show's success. Delayed viewing numbers also count heavily, as more people abandon live viewing and go for video-on-demand and DVR. In the case of Designated Survivor, the delayed numbers remained quite strong despite declining same day ratings, a factor which may help it when/if it lands on a platform like Netflix, where traditional ratings mean nothing.
All this shifting around, as shows with small but loyal fanbases seek the right platform, stands as just more proof that all the old models for series television viewing have gone out the window. Netflix really began the revolution when it transitioned into producing its own content with series like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Now networks want to catch up by launching their own streaming services. CBS for instance has kicked off CBS All Access, and already had a viable hit with Star Trek: Discovery.
The old idea of a huge ratings-dominating network show like Friends or Seinfeld, or even The Big Bang Theory just a few years ago, has entirely gone by the wayside. A show like Designated Survivor can actually be a traditional ratings loser, and still have a streaming service like Netflix show interest in bringing it back. All this leads to much greater diversity in content. And a lot of confusion for people who still get TV Guide in the mail.