ABC Boss on Designated Survivor Cancellation: Ratings Were Not the Only Issue!

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Designated Survivor was one of the most surprising cancellations of the season. 

While the ratings were soft, there were a lot of other factors expected to keep the series on the air. 

ABC President Channing Dungey addressed reporters during a conference call on Tuesday ahead of the network's Upfronts Presentation, and she had a lot to say about the controversial decision. 

Speaking for the Nation - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 8

“That was a hard one for us,” she admitted after being asked about it. 

“It did well in delayed viewing but its Live+Same Day delivery in the 10 PM hour had become challenging,” she continued. 

However, there were questions raised about which direction Season 3 could have gone in, especially considering the myriad of behind the scenes issues. 

Related: Designated Survivor Canceled at ABC!

“Creatively, the show had a lot of behind-the-scenes churn in terms of the number of showrunners,” Dungey said.

“We were less confident about the creative path forward than the other shows we brought back.”


Through two seasons, the show had four showrunners. That's unheard of in today's climate, and showrunners are generally replaced once after a show has been on the air for multiple seasons. 

Designated Survivor Season 2 was down almost 45 percent in the demo year to year. It is currently averaging 4 million viewers and a 0.7 rating. 

However, these numbers swell all the way up to a 1.6 rating in the demo, which is a decent figure.

The show also had an international deal with Netflix that is said to have helped pay for a good portion of the series' budget. 


That's part of the reason why the show was expected to continue despite the soft linear ratings. 

Alas, ABC confirmed earlier today that series would be succeeded on Wednesdays by A Million Little Things. 

Related: ABC Fall Schedule: Can Nathan Fillion Break the Tuesday Death Slot Curse?

Meanwhile, Designated Survivor could still be revived at another outlet. 

According to Deadline, production company eOne is already gearing up to shop the series to other outlets

Negotiating With a Foreign Government - Designated Survivor

What do you think about all of this, Designated Survivor Fanatics?

Hit the comments below. 

Remember you can watch Designated Survivor online right here via TV Fanatic. Get caught up right now!

For now, Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 22 will serve as the series finale, and it airs Wednesday at 10/9c on ABC. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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