designated survivor season 3
Photos: Courtesy of ABC

Is Designated Survivor over? Yes, the finale of the second season aired last night on ABC. But wait, you might be wondering, is there going to be a Designated Survivor season 3, or was Designated Survivor cancelled in the latest wave that cut down many people’s favorite shows? UPDATE: Netflix has stepped in and officially picked up the show for a third season.

"Designated Survivor will return for a third season as a global Netflix original," a press release from the streaming service announced on September 5. The show goes into production later this year, which means we'll have to wait until 2019 for it to launch. But it looks like the show will be tackling some timely isues. In the Designated Survivor season 3 synopsis, Netflix teases that fake news will come into play:

President Kirkman (Sutherland) will face a political reality… campaigning. What does it take to make a leader? What price will he be willing to pay? This season will explore today's world of campaigning, smear tactics, debates, campaign finance and "fake news.” Democracy, as we know it, will hang in the balance.

The first two seasons will be added to the Netflix content library, in case you need to catch up, and keep your eyes peeled for season 3, which will release with 10 episodes.

 

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Fans of the show, starring Kiefer Sutherland as the reluctant President Tom Kirkman, know that it grabbed a firm hold on its audience’s attention — and showed no signs of letting up. The pilot of the show started with such a bang — literally and figuratively — that people wouldn’t stop googling the “designated survivor” concept and whether it was real. (Spoiler on that one, it is.)

So what’s the fate of Designated Survivor season 3? Was Designated Survivor cancelled, or did it survive the small screen bloodbath that happened earlier this month?

What’s happening with Designated Survivor season 3?

Designated Survivor season 3 was always up in the air. The network didn’t sign the show for another season at the traditional time, but even into the second season, Sutherland was hopeful that they would continue on for another season — even if it meant format changes. He mentioned that he would be willing to see the show go to a shorter 8-episode season format, which is becoming increasingly common among TV shows, if that’s what it took to keep the show going a little longer.

designated survivor season 3 staff

It didn’t appear as though ABC had the same faith in the show as the star, though, since a much-anticipated renewal for Designated Survivor season 3 never materialized. It might have had something to do with the fact that only half the viewers who were glued to their TV sets for the series premiere tuned in for the premiere of season two.

So, was Designated Survivor cancelled?

Despite a last-minute uptick in numbers, yes, Designated Survivor was cancelled. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey explained that the cancellation was “a hard one for us. It did well in delayed viewing but its Live+Same Day delivery in the 10 PM hour had become challenging.” She also cited frequent showrunner churn as a factor in the decision.

was designated survivor cancelled kiefer sutherland

So, is Designated Survivor over for good?

Maybe not. Deadline reported that the producer for the show, eOne, “is in talks with streaming giant Netflix about picking up the political thriller.” So cross your fingers and toes, Kiefer Sutherland fans. The delayed viewing numbers wouldn’t be a problem on a streaming service, the biggest problem ABC had with the show would effectively disappear by this potential platform shift for Designated Survivor season 3.

Nothing is set in stone yet, and it’s complicated. “Sources stress that the talks are still preliminary and complex as Netflix rival Hulu has U.S. SVOD rights to the first two seasons of Designated Survivor, which aired on ABC,” Deadline points out. Metro will watch as the story develops and keep you updated if we hear confirmation that Designated Survivor season 3 is happening.