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ABC Orders ‘Designated Survivor’ Series Starring Kiefer Sutherland

Jack Bauer is heading to the White House. Kiefer Sutherland is returning to primetime television with Designated Survivor, an ABC conspiracy thriller drama, in which the 24 star will play the President of the United States. Designated Survivor, which was written on spec by David Guggenheim (Safe House), has received a straight-to-series order. The script, with Sutherland attached to star and Simon Kinberg (The Martian, X-Men, Days Of Future Past) to executive produce for the Mark Gordon Company, sparked a major bidding war before landing at ABC.

In Designated Survivor, a lower level United States Cabinet member (Sutherland) is suddenly appointed President after a catastrophic attack during the State of the Union kills everyone above him in the Presidential line of succession. This is a family drama wrapped around a conspiracy thriller about an ordinary man in an extraordinary situation.

Creator Guggenheim executive produces alongside Kinberg, who will exec produce via his Genre Films banner, Sutherland and Entertainment 360’s Suzan Bymel.

This marks the first production order for the Mark Gordon Co. since it went independent earlier this year as the Mark Gordon Company Studios, backed by Entertainment One. The MGC will serve as the lead studio, with ABC Studios as a studio partner on the series. EOne will handle international distribution.

The title of the project, Designated Survivor, refers to the term used for a member of the U.S Cabinet who is sequestered in a safe location when the President and the country’s other top leaders are gathered in one place, such as during State of the Union addresses and presidential inaugurations. The policy is designed to preserve continuity of government in the event of a catastrophic occurrence when the President and those in line of succession are killed, leaving the designated survivor to become the Acting President of the United States under the Presidential Succession Act.

There already is a drama titled Designated Survivor in the works for next season. The project, set up at Fox, is being written by Nikki Toscano and exec produced by Johnny Depp. In Fox’s Designated Survivor, when the President, VP, and Cabinet all meet in one location for an event such as the State of the Union, one Cabinet member is conspicuously missing: the Designated Survivor. Hidden away in an undisclosed location with Presidential-level security, the Designated Survivor is ready to take the reins of the President should the unthinkable happen and the rest of the government is wiped out in an attack. ABC’s green light to the Kiefer Sutherland series will likely impact the fate of the similarly-themed project at Fox.

MGC also has legal drama Conviction in development at ABC with a put pilot commitment, with ABC Studios co-producing. Since becoming independent, MGC also has stepped in to finance and produce a limited series adaptation of Jennifer Steil’s novel The Ambassador’s Wife, with Anne Hathaway set to star and produce, and has teamed with Francis Lawrence for two drama projects.

During Mark Gordon CQuantico 1o.’s stint as a pod based at ABC Studios, the company launched a number of series. It has several on the air — ABC’s veteran Grey’s Anatomy and breakout Quantico, CBS’ Criminal Minds and the upcoming Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders as well as the Showtime drama series Ray Donovan outside of the ABC Studios deal.

In addition to Safe House and its upcoming sequel, Guggenheim’s feature credits include Stolen and the upcoming Bad Boys 3, Black Box and the franchise reboot of Commando. In TV, he previously co-wrote and co-executive produced with Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci the Fox pilot Exit Strategy starring Ethan Hawke and directed by Antoine Fuqua. He is repped by Paradigm, Madhouse and attorney Jamie Afifi.

Kinberg, who wrote and is producing the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse and recently produced The Martian, is executive producing two X-Men-themed TV series projects, pilot Legion at FX and Hellfire at Fox.

Sutherland won an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award for his signature role as Agent Jack Bauer on Fox’s Emmy-winning drama series 24 and reprised his role in the 24: Live Another Day event series. There is a new 24 event series eying a green light that revolves around new characters.

Casting the TV Expendables

The Expendables 3 might not have set the box office alight, but you can’t keep a good action hero down.

Sylvester Stallone is reportedly planning to bring his OAP ass-kicker franchise to the small-screen, with an Expendables event series in the works at Fox.

Much like how the films united action heroes of ’80s and ’90s cinema – Stallone, Schwarzenegger et al – so this new show is looking to bring together iconic TV tough guys from yesteryear.

Casting is yet to be confirmed, but in the meantime, here’s Digital Spy’s dream team for the TV Expendables.

1. Kiefer Sutherland
Credentials: 24

He might not be eager to reprise Jack Bauer any time soon (dammit!) but Kiefer has to be on this list. His commanding presence makes him a natural fit for team leader – the TV equivalent of Stallone’s Barney Ross.

Kiefer Sutherland among nominees for Razzie Awards

Canadian actor Kiefer Sutherland was nominated Tuesday for a Golden Raspberry Award — better known as a Razzie — for his role in the made-in-Toronto epic Pompeii.

The Razzies pay tribute to the year’s worst achievements in film.

Sutherland is nominated as Worst Supporting Actor along with Mel Gibson (Expendables 3), Kelsey Grammer (Expendables 3, Legends of Oz, Thinks Like a Man Too and Trannies 4), Shaquille O’Neal (Blended) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (Expendables 3).

Last May, The Guardian critic Stuart Heritage described Sutherland’s acting in Pompeii as “a classic panto ham turn; all evil eyeballs and implacably ludicrous accent.”

Worst Actor nominations went to Kirk Cameron (Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas), Nicolas Cage (Left Behind), Kellan Lutz (The Legend of Hercules), Seth MacFarlane (A Million Ways To Die in the West) and Adam Sandler (Blended).

Blended co-star Drew Barrymore earned a Worst Actress nod, as well as Cameron Diaz (The Other Woman, Sex Tape), Melissa McCarthy (Tammy), Charlize Theron (A Million Ways to Die in the West) and Gaia Weiss (The Legend of Hercules).

Worst Supporting Actress nominees are Cameron Diaz (Annie), Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Nicola Peltz (Transformers 4: Age of Extinction), Susan Sarandon (Tammy) and Brigitte Ridenour (Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas).

Razzie dishonours for Worst Picture went to Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, Left Behind, The Legend of Hercules, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers 4: Age of Extinction.

The latter three films will compete against Atlas Shrugged 3: Who Is John Galt? and Annie for Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel.

Among the nominees in the Worst Screen Combo category are Kirk Cameron “and his ego” and Kellan Lutz and “either his abs, his pecs or his glutes.”

Click here for the full list of nominees.

Kiefer Sutherland: ‘I don’t see myself going back to 24’

The sight of Kiefer Sutherland on screen holding a gun to a man’s head is not unusual. He spent nine series as Jack Bauer in 24 doing little else. But the sight of Kiefer Sutherland holding a gun to Stephen Fry’s head while Fry is lying on top of him wearing a Santa outfit, definitely is.

“He’s a big fella,” says Sutherland, with a gravelly laugh at the recollection. “I think he stands about 6’ 4” and he’s built – he’s not wire skinny. So when he landed on me I think the two of us laughed the first time. In fact, there were a couple of moments where we had to really focus because situations made us laugh so much.”

Just as you don’t think of Kiefer Sutherland with Stephen Fry on top of him, you don’t think of him in a comedy either. But Marked is a comedy, a standalone half-hour in Sky’s Playhouse Presents strand. It sees Sutherland play a middle-aged, browbeaten, debt-laden nebbish called James. When he is offered a “hit” to take out his neighbour’s archenemy it’s money he cannot refuse, but his efforts to do the deed soon descend in to a high – and festive – farce.

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Pompeii Was “Hell” For Kiefer Sutherland

Los Angeles – Paul WS Anderson put Kiefer Sutherland through “hell” on the set of Pompeii.

The director admitted Sutherland and Kit Harington were left feeling “uncomfortable” as they filmed through clouds of ash to recreate the scenes from volcano explosion that destroyed the Italian city in 79 AD.

Speaking to BANG Showbiz, he said: “We needed to plunge them into hell and it’s easier to act like that if they are in hellish conditions, if you talk to Kit or Kiefer, they would both tell you the same, it was hellish making the movie.

He added, we had a lot of very unhappy actors. Everyone was very committed to the movie and coming to work. But I think there were times when they weren’t happy. They weren’t coming in, in the mornings saying, ‘Woohoo! Pompeii!’ because they were getting ash in their eyes and in their lungs, it really was an uncomfortable movie but I think that discomfort added a huge layer of realism.”

He then joked: “Kiefer for example, makes a lot of notes in his script. About what the character is thinking, handwritten notes in his script and he would write things like, ‘NAR’, I would see this term ‘NAR’ all the way through his script.

“I said, ‘NAR’ and he said, ‘No acting required’. He said, ‘I don’t need to pretend that the world was ending. I know you’re going to make me feel like it is.”

According to the director, the 24 actor even revealed that Pompeii was the hardest film he’s ever made.

He explained: “Kiefer’s made about 50 movies and at the end of Pompeii he said, ‘That’s the toughest film I’ve ever made.’ I took that as a compliment!”

Kiefer Likes Glamour

Kiefer Sutherland never “dreads” putting black tie on for a formal occasion.

The 24 star has been attending lots of glitzy events to promote the comeback of the hit show 24: Live Another Day, which has 12 episodes this season.

While many stars dread hitting the red carpet and getting papped, Kiefer is keen to get his glad rags on.

“It was within the past five months for a dinner,” he revealed when People magazine asked him about the last time he wore black tie. “I enjoy getting dressed up for a formal occasion. I have friends that dread it. I am not one of them.”

Kiefer keeps in great shape by playing hockey and admits he needs the exercise to keep him on track for filming 24.

“Physically, 24 is a hard show to do,” he recently admitted to Esquire. “I look back and see we did 192 episodes over eight seasons. I don’t know how we did it. It makes you want to go take a nap.”

The actor turned 47 last December and rarely thinks about the ageing process. However, he did have to take a breather when he hit the big 4-5.

“That was the first age I ever hit where I started doing the maths — ‘In five years I will be 50. Oh my God, in ten years I’ll be 55. In 20 years I will be 65. At 65 you get half-price tickets to f**king movies, holy sh*t,'” he admitted. “It made me acknowledge how much I’ve enjoyed my life. I’ve got a really wonderful family, and some fantastic friends.”

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