‘Underground’ canceled, producer John Legend seeks ‘new home’
The network on Tuesday announced the cancellation of “Underground,” a drama that explored the lives of key figures involved in the Underground Railroad.
“As WGN America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape,” Tribune Media president and CEO Peter Kern said in a statement.
He added that despite being a “terrific” and “important,” the series “no longer fits with our new direction.”
Executive producer John Legend said on Twitter that the “Underground” producing team “will find a new home” for the show.
“Content wins,” he wrote. “We’re not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We’re so proud of our show and the audience that supported!”
“Underground” wrapped up its second season earlier this month.
The decision comes just weeks after Sinclair, a conservative-leaning TV station owner, agreed to buy Tribune Media for $3.9 billion.
In a follow-up tweet, Legend set his sights on the company, telling his followers to “be wary” of it.
“They’re trying to make local stations mini Fox Newses, but more to the right,” he wrote.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has been an influential force for Republican candidates and politicians. It reached an agreement with then-candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election that gave it greater access to him.
Kern said “Underground’s” cancellation will make way for “more original content across our air.”
There was no indication from Kern that content will be scripted.
“Underground” debuted in March 2016 and drew a record number of eyeballs to the fledgling network.
Though ratings dipped during its run, it was critically praised for its authentic storytelling.
In his statement, Kern called “Underground” a “landmark series that captured the zeitgeist and made an impact on television in a way never before seen on the medium.”
WGN America was also home to supernatural drama “Salem,” but it was canceled in December 2016 after three seasons, leaving “Underground” as the network’s sole scripted series.
“Undeground” was produced by Sony Pictures Television. It was created and written by Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy,” “Heroes”) and Joe Pokaski (“Heroes,” “Daredevil”).
It starred Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, and Jessica De Gouw.
By Sandra Gonzalez