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ABC gives full-season orders to Designated Survivor and Speechless

(Image: ABC)

Following in the footsteps of an eager NBC—which gave its first full-season pick-up to Dan Fogelman’s family drama This Is Us earlier this week, before its second episode had even had a chance to air—ABC has extended its order for two of its freshman shows. Kiefer Sutherland’s Designated Survivor and Minnie Driver’s Speechless have both been bumped up to full seasons by the Disney-owned network, with each getting an extra nine episodes to tell their stories.

In the case of Speechless, that’s the tale of the DiMeo family, including fiery mom Maya (Driver) and J.J., her teenaged son living with cerebral palsy. Created by FriendsScott Silveri, the series was reportedly a hard sell initially, only receiving a definitive pilot commitment after Driver signed on. Designated Survivor, meanwhile, features Kiefer Sutherland asking the question, “Would people notice Jack Bauer had become the president if he walked around wearing glasses all the time?”


ABC waited until both shows aired their second episodes before extending their first seasons. According to Deadline, Speechless—which our own Joshua Alston described as “the rare example of a formula executed deftly enough to remind the audience why the formula exists in the first place”—managed to hold its solid Wednesday night ratings in its second week. Meanwhile, Designated Survivor apparently excelled in delayed viewing, with the show posting some of the highest Live+3 ratings of the 2016 TV season to date.

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