Designated Survivor (television) Hour-long drama series on ABC, premiering Sep. 21, 2016, and ending May 16, 2018. Tom Kirkman is a lower-level cabinet member who is suddenly appointed President of the United States after a catastrophic attack on the U.S. Capitol during the State of the Union address. He struggles to keep the country and his own family from falling apart while navigating the highly-volatile political arena and while leading the search to find who is responsible for the attack. Stars Kiefer Sutherland (Tom Kirkman), Natascha McElhone (Alex Kirkman), Adan Canto (Aaron Stone), Italia Ricci (Emily Rhodes), LaMonica Garrett (Mike Ritter), Tanner Buchanan (Leo Kirkman), Kal Penn (Seth Wright), Maggie Q (Hannah Wells). From the Mark Gordon Company and ABC Studios.