This Wednesday, we'll see what's next for President Tom Kirkman in the second season premiere of" Designated Survivor." The lowly Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was thrust into the highest office in the land when terrorists decimated the State of the Union.
In honor of the occasion, we've compiled a list of the top TV presidents.
- President Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland), "Designated Survivor" Kiefer Sutherland saying that when he read the script he felt he was "potentially holding the next 10 years of my life in my hands." If the first season is any indication, he may be right. What sets Kirkland apart is that he never wanted the presidency. Having someone in the office who did not seek it out explicitly brings with it a weird veneer of honor, even when that character is surrounded by chaos and danger.
- President Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), "The West Wing" The TV president that started it all goes near the top of our list. "The West Wing" is so iconic it popularized the term POTUS. Bartlet showed he could hold his own in a war of words at a time when the country who was watching him was in a conflict of its own. Remember the 2000 election?
- Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis), "Commander in Chief" Mackenzie "Mac" Allen played by the legendary Geena Davis became the first female president on ABC's "Commander in Chief," but only through succession. The show may have only conintued for 18 episodes, but the premise was ground breaking at the time.
- President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), "House of Cards" Underwood is a notable presidential figure, not just because his show helped to redefine what TV is in the streaming age. Unlike most fictional presidents, he's not idealistic, a father figure or even remotely a good person. Spacey's breaking of the fourth wall to explain Underwood's true thoughts and plans are unparalleled. Underwood holds the distinction of having his portrait hung in the actual National Portrait Gallery.
- President Lisa Simpson (Yeardley Smith), "The Simpsons" We may only get to see her in the oval office for one episode, but it's iconic due to its incredible prediction. All the way back in the 2000 episode "Bart to the Future," "The Simpsons" accurately predicted a Donald Trump presidency.
- President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), "Veep" Louis-Dreyfus didn't win the most Emmys won by a single performer for one role for nothing. Like most female TV presidents, she started the series as a vice president. Selina Meyer unexpectedly is named POTUS at the end of Season 3 of "Veep." But it didn't last long. As the last season starts, she'll be running again.
- President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), "24" We wouldn't have Haysbert on our televisions telling us about Allstate if it wasn't for President Palmer.
- President Fitz (Tony Goldwyn), "Scandal" During his time in office on "Scandal," Fitz was turned from President of the United States into effectively a soap opera star before his ex-wife became Commander-in-Chief. Like many other fictional presidents, he survives an assassination attempt and doesn't pay much attention to his children.
Haysbert was such a convincing president on "24" that the actor has said that he believed the show might have helped elect Barack Obama as the nation's first African-American Commander-in-chief.
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