By Denise Petski
July 8, 2021
Former Designated Survivor star Kiefer Sutherland is heading back to the Oval Office. He’s been tapped to play President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Showtime’s upcoming anthology series The First Lady (working title), starring Viola Davis — who also executive produces — Michelle Pfeiffer and Gillian Anderson. Cathy Schulman serves as showrunner. Susanne Bier (The Undoing) will direct and executive produce.
Created by Aaron Cooley and produced by Lionsgate TV and Showtime, The First Lady is a revelatory reframing of American leadership, told through the lens of the women at the heart of the White House. Season 1 focuses on Eleanor Roosevelt (Anderson), Betty Ford (Pfeiffer) and Michelle Obama (Davis).
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) was the 32nd president of the United States, from 1933 until his death in 1945, and the only U.S. president to serve for more than two terms. He married his fifth cousin Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905, and together the couple became the central figures in world events during the first half of the 20th century, eventually building the New Deal Coalition that defined modern liberalism in the U.S. In 1921, Roosevelt contracted polio, and his legs became permanently paralyzed. Unstoppable even after that, FDR is revered as one of the nation’s greatest presidents.
Series also stars Aaron Eckhart as President Gerald Ford, O-T Fagbenle as President Barack Obama and Dakota Fanning as Susan Elizabeth Ford.
Produced by Showtime and Lionsgate Television, The First Lady is executive produced by Schulman, Davis, Julius Tennon, Andrew Wang, Bier, Jeff Gaspin and Brad Kaplan. Cooley will write several of the episodes and executive produce.
Former 24 and Designated Survivor star Sutherland is next set to star and executive produce the upcoming untitled espionage drama from Glenn Ficarra and John Requa for Paramount+/CBS Studios. He’s repped by CAA, Management 360 and Lichter, Grossman, Nichols, Adler, Feldman & Clark.