Kiefer Suther­land’s ‘Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor’ is des­ig­nated to re­sume on Net­flix

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - The Comics - BY JAY BOB­BIN

When ABC can­celed it, Kiefer Suther­land sus­pected “Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor” would sur­vive.

Net­flix al­ready had the rights out­side North Amer­ica to the drama about a sud­denly ap­pointed U.S. pres­i­dent, so Suther­land – an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of the se­ries as well as its star – deemed the stream­ing ser­vice a log­i­cal home for a new Sea­son 3. In­deed, 10 fresh episodes pre­miere there Fri­day, June 7, as Suther­land’s Tom Kirk­man cam­paigns for a full term in the job he was thrust into af­ter a ter­ror­ist at­tack killed the sit­ting chief ex­ec­u­tive and just about ev­ery Cab­i­net mem­ber.

“It’s the na­ture of how things go,” Suther­land re­flects of “Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor’s” jour­ney. “When some­thing is work­ing, you take that for that ... but when a net­work goes through lead­er­ship tran­si­tions, lit­er­ally in this case (at ABC), you just ac­cept that for what it is and get used to it.

“Hav­ing said that, I was aware Net­flix had the show glob­ally, and they were in­cred­i­bly ex­cited about the suc­cess of the show in that ca­pac­ity. I think within two days of hear­ing about ABC’s de­ci­sion, I heard from The Mark Gor­don Com­pany (a ma­jor pro­duc­tion en­tity be­hind the show) that they were al­ready in dis­cus­sions with Net­flix to have a Sea­son 3, so it was pretty quick.”

That en­abled “Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor” to re­tain much of its cast, also in­clud­ing Italia Ricci, Kal Penn, Adan Canto and Mag­gie Q. The third sea­son adds An­thony Ed­wards, who pre­vi­ously worked with new showrun­ner Neal Baer on “ER,” and Tony Award win­ner Julie White.

Suther­land likes the Net­flix for­mula that drops all of a show’s sea­son at once: “My only pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence with that was with peo­ple who would not watch ‘24’ un­til they got the DVD sets, and they ended up lov­ing the show more than any­body be­cause they watched it with­out com­mer­cials. And they watched it at their own pace, so when they wanted an­other episode, they got to have it.”

There’s also a cre­ative ap­peal to hav­ing “Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor” on Net­flix, since Suther­land ex­plains that “var­i­ous net­works will not let you use China or Rus­sia. They’ll have you make up a coun­try for you to have your con­flict with. Net­flix is not that, so we get to dive into some of these sit­u­a­tions in a much more re­al­is­tic way.”

Also with a coun­try-mu­sic ca­reer go­ing strong with the re­cent re­lease of his sec­ond al­bum, “Reck­less & Me,” Suther­land is find­ing it “tir­ing” but grat­i­fy­ing to bal­ance that and act­ing. “In the end, you make room for the things you love to do,” he rea­sons. “Act­ing is the love of my life, but mu­sic is now, too. And the com­mon denom­i­na­tor be­tween the two is sto­ry­telling.”

Kal Penn (left) and Kiefer Suther­land star in the new Sea­son 3 of “Des­ig­nated Sur­vivor,” which be­gins stream­ing Fri­day on Net­flix.

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