The ABC Upfront presentation saved the best for last. Channing Dungey, the new programming chief at ABC, took the stage to present the trailers for the pilots of the upcoming 2016-17 schedule, which ranged from Shonda Rhimes’s take on Romeo and Juliet to Jenna Elfman talking to an imaginary friend. Without a doubt, the most compelling trailer was Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland. ABC clearly has a lot of faith in the show, ordering it straight to series and releasing a short teaser of it last week. The former Jack Bauer introduced the trailer himself at the Upfronts, saying this was the kind of role he could envision himself doing for the next ten years.
In Designated Survivor, Sutherland plays Tom Kirkman, a low-level cabinet member who becomes president after a massive attack during the State of the Union address. It’s basically the non-space version of how Laura Roslin becomes president in Battlestar Galactica, but the preview itself is self-assured, well-paced, and grab-your-seat good. All networks should take note: This is how you make a trailer.