Get ready for the wish fulfillment series of the season, with actor-singer Kiefer Sutherland as the President of the United States in the exciting new drama Designated Survivor, premiering September 21 on ABC.
Yes, Sutherland who played Jack Bauer, super heroic patriot who was tasked with saving presidents in the thrilling 24 series, now has the presidential role.
Sutherland was at the Disney/ABC’s Summer Press Tour sessions talking to members of the Television Critics Association about the highly anticipated Designated Survivor series. He plays Tom Kirkman, a low-ranking cabinet member who becomes the President after a bomb blows up the President and other cabinet members. Kirkman is forced to lead a country through the crisis that follows.
After several seasons doing the hit 24, which Sutherland called “the greatest experience I have had as an actor,” he was not looking for another show. However, Kiefer immediately embraced the Designated Survivor project.
He recalled, “I was busy doing a small film in New York. I had no intention of doing a television show.” But his long-time friend producer Mark Gordon sent him the script and Sutherland read it as a courtesy. “I remember getting to the end of the script and realizing that I was potentially holding the next ten years of my life in my hands. I called Mark and told him I wanted to do it, and he said, ‘What notes do you have?’ I said, ‘I don’t have any.’ So he thought I hadn’t read it. It’s true, I felt the script was so beautifully structured. And it had the thriller aspect of trying to find out who had done this.”
He also liked that it was a family drama exploring what happens overnight when you go from a normal structured life to the life as the President of the United States and the First Lady. “What happens to your children? What sacrifices are made there? It also allowed itself the format, on a political level, to have discussions that I think we need to have in a rational way, not so divisive, but hear really important and respectable points of view from the left and the right. I felt this script afforded every opportunity to create a landscape that was so vast that being able to do many years of a show would be possible,” Sutherland said.
Designated Survivor also stars Natascha McElhone as Alex, the President’s wife, Maggie Q as FBI agent Hannah Wells, and Kal Penn as the President’s speechwriter (who actually worked at the White House). The production team includes creator David Guggenheim, Simon Kinberg, and Mark Gordon, the creative force behind The Mark Gordon Company and many powerhouse TV series (Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Army Wives, Ray Donovan), as well as blockbuster movies (Saving Private Ryan, Speed, and Steve Jobs).
Kiefer said he has huge respect for Mark Gordon, “not only for how prolific he is as a producer, but the incredible quality of work that he has done.” That portends Designated Survivor becoming a designated success.
Also keeping Sutherland busy is promoting his wish fulfillment debut album “Down In A Hole.” He recently did a guest appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! (Aug. 24) performing “Can’t Stay Away,” which premiered on CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown. And Sutherland just wrapped up a North American tour where he sold out venues across the U.S. and Canada with fans enjoying his soulful baritone vocals and rocking guitar licks.
“This record is the closest thing I’ve ever had to a journal or diary. All of these songs are pulled from my own personal experiences. As much as I have enjoyed the writing and recording process, I am experiencing great joy now being able to play these songs to a live audience,” Sutherland, 49-years-old, reported about his passion for his music.
“Not Enough Whiskey” is the first single from the disc. He co-wrote every song on “Down In A Hole” with producer Jude Cole. The 11-track album is from Warner Music Nashville and his own indie label Ironworks Music. #