ABC Cancels Dramas 'Designated Survivor' and 'Quantico'

Two of ABC's biggest primetime dramas have been canceled by the network.

The network announced they will not be ordering new seasons of Designated Survivor and Quantico, ratings hits when they first premiered but slowly failed. The shows are set to continue airing their current seasons to the end.

The Hollywood Reporter writes it's a surprise for the Kiefer Sutherland-led show, which had largely been expected to go for a season three. Quantico, in its abbreviated third run, had brought middling ratings returns.

Designated Survivor was reportedly difficult to produce, as it was filmed in Toronto, the writers room was set in Los Angeles and creator David Guggenheim is based in New York. Sutherland, who executive produced the series, is highly involved in the show's creative side and effectively does a pass on each script before it is finalized alongside Guggenheim.

The series is the first to come out of Gordon's independent banner outside of ABC Studios, with the latter set as the lead producer on the show. The series might not have been a ratings monster, but a lucrative deal with Netflix and a strong international following made it a profitable series.

The Priyanka Chopra-led series Quantico, from ABC Studios and producer Mark Gordon, was a breakout when it debuted in fall 2015, setting delayed viewing lift records. But with its dense narrative and heavy serialization, the series started to lose momentum in the second half of its first season and continued to see declines into Season 3.

Deadline reports it came down-to-the-wire last season for the drama series when it scored a last-minute Season 3 renewal with a reduced license fee and new creative under a new showrunner. The series returned in April to a lackluster 0.5 in the adults 18-49 demographic and less than 3 million total viewers — tying its series low.

The series broke ground for broadcast television when it first premiered in 2015 as the first network television series led by a South Asian actor, and in season three, it did it again by introducing television's first deaf spy character with new series regular Marlee Matlin.


Chopra's overseas popularity, however, made it a strong performer in international sales.

Created by Joshua Safran, ABC's terrorism drama starred Chopra as Alex Parrish. The cast also included Jake McLaughlin, Johanna Braddy, Russell Tovey, Alan Powell, Matlin, and Blair Underwood.