Tuesday, May 30, 2017

WGN America Cancels 'Underground' After 2 Seasons

WGN America has officially canceled its original drama series Underground after two seasons, it was announced today. The news means the cable network is now officially out of scripted programming altogether.

The news comes in the wake of WGN America parent company Tribune Media being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group for $3.9 billion. Furthermore, Peter Kern replaced Peter Liguori earlier this year as CEO of Tribune Media. Since then, he's wanted to move away from high-end scripted shows for the cable channel - starting with cancelling Outsiders in April.

Kern released the following statement about the show's cancellation: "Despite Underground being a terrific and important series, it no longer fits with our new direction and we have reached the difficult decision not to renew it for a third season. We are tremendously proud of this landmark series that captured the zeitgeist and made an impact on television in a way never before seen on the medium. We thank the incomparable creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski and the great John Legend, along with the talented creative team and cast who brought the unsung American heroes of the Underground Railroad to life. We are grateful to the loyal fans of Underground and our partners at Sony Pictures Television. It is our hope that this remarkable show finds another home and continues its stories of courage, determination and freedom."

On the new direction of the network, Kern added, "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. This move is designed to deliver additional value for our advertising and distribution partners and offer viewers more original content across our air."

The drama starred Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Jessica De Gouw, Alano Miller, Amirah Vann, Aisha Hinds and Christopher Meloni.

Misha Green and Joe Pokaski created the drama. They executive produced with John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell and Joby Harrold. Sony Pictures Television produced.

Sony is said to be shopping the drama to other networks. And yet, their efforts to find the show a new home have so far led to nothing. Hulu, BET and OWN were said to be very interested but the price tag of the series may ultimately be too high. Similarly, Sony hasn't found a new home for Outsiders while WGN America's only drama pilot Scalped is said to be looking elsewhere for an order as well.