• Designated Survivor Is a Substantive Political Drama

    by  • September 12, 2016 • ABC, Paleyfest 2016 • 3 Comments



    A gripping political thriller safe for families.

    Whenever the President and the country’s other top leaders are all in one place together, one member of the Cabinet is kept at a secure location as a “designated survivor” in case of disaster. When the Capitol is bombed during a State of the Union address, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Tom Kirkman suddenly finds himself President of the United States. With only the help of his wife Alex, his teenage son Leo, and his former chief of staff Emily, Kirkman must lead America through the crisis and deal with political rivals and enemies in the White House, all while learning the toughest job in the world.   

    There was little problematic content in the first episode: only a bit of mild language, no violence save the Capitol bombing off-screen, and Leo exchanging money for drugs at a dance party. Similar to shows like The Good Wife and Madam Secretary, Designated Survivor promises to be an involving drama with strong storytelling surrounding personalities and politics.

    Designated Survivor premieres Wednesday, September 21 at 10:00 p.m. ET on ABC.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    3 Responses to Designated Survivor Is a Substantive Political Drama

    1. V. Galloway
      September 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      We are looking forward to this one. We so enjoy Madam Secretary, and hopefully this will be as excellent a drama as that one. How delightful to see that something new is actually acceptable fare for families. We are watching less and less Television as it sinks lower and lower in it’s content.

    2. efred
      September 17, 2016 at 11:56 am

      It’s going to be different seeing ‘Jack Bauer’ as a mousy cabinet member, thrust into an impossible situation. But that’s what Jack Bauer did best. This is the first ABC show that I’m actually excited to see and possibly watch in years; they’ve had little to nothing worth watching for the last 8-10+ years, as far as my family’s concerned.

      If they have good directors and writers (like, say, from “24″), it should be a great, thrilling, roller-coaster ride of a show, well worth watching.

    3. John Boulton
      September 17, 2016 at 6:53 am

      Looks interesting!

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