Compared to last year, the major networks cancelled many more primetime shows this year, ahead of the May upfronts, but at least one of those shows may have a new life. A new report reveals that the drama series Designated Survivor, which was canceled after just two season by ABC yesterday, is eyeing a possible revival for Season 3 on Netflix. Nothing is set in stone at this time. eOne, which produces Designated Survivor, has engaged in talks with Netflix to bring the drama series starring Kiefer Sutherland back from the dead.
Sources claim that the talks between Netflix and eOne are still in preliminary stages, and a deal could be complicated by the fact that Hulu currently holds the United States SVOD rights to Designated Survivor. However, Netflix holds the SVOD rights to the show for the rest of the world, and if a deal could be worked out with Hulu for the domestic streaming rights, this could actually happen. Shortly after the cancellation, eOne issued a regulatory statement, where they confirmed they were, "in active discussions with other parties for further series of the show."
During the ABC upfront presentation, ABC president Channing Dungey said that the Designated Survivor cancellation was a "tough one" for the network, adding that while the show performed well in delayed viewing, its Live+Same Day numbers proved to be "challenging" in the show's Wednesday 10 PM time slot. The strong delayed numbers would prove to be an advantage for the show moving to Netflix, where Live+Same Day figures would be a non-issue since Designated Survivor would likely release an entire season at once under Netflix's popular binge-friendly release model.
Dungey also noted that the show's behind-the-scenes difficulties were another reason leading to the cancellation, since the series has had four different showrunners in two seasons on the air. Amy Harris, Jon Harmon Feldman and Jeff Melvoin all served as showrunners through the first season, all of whom departed in Season 2. Keith Eisner took over as the new showrunner for Season 2, but this new report reveals that eOne has reached a deal with an unnamed individual to serve as showrunner for Season 3, and this new showrunner/executive producer will continue if the show is officially picked up on Netflix or another outlet.
Designated Survivor stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, a low-level Cabinet member who is named the "designated survivor" during the President of the United States' State of the Union address. When a terrorist attack kills the President and the rest of the Cabinet, Kirkman becomes the President of the United States. The cast includes Natascha McElhone, Adan Canto, Italia Ricci, LaMonica Garrett, Tanner Buchanan, Kal Penn, and Maggie Q. The first season started quite strong, with the pilot episode pulling in a 2.24 rating in the 18-49 demographic, with just over 10 million viewers overall. Those numbers quickly slid but the show still managed to average a 1.25 rating and 5.8 million viewers overall. During Season 2, the show dropped 43% in the 18-49 demo rating (0.71) and 32% in overall viewers (3.9 million). Deadline broke the news of Designated Survivor's possible revival on Netflix.