Sorry, OWN Network And BET Aren’t Picking Up ‘Underground’

The canceled series hasn’t found a new home...yet

Crystal Tate Jun, 08, 2017

It appears just a sliver of hope is lost in the fight for Underground’s revival. 

Underground may have been WGN America’s highest rated show, but that wasn’t enough to keep the slave drama on the air. Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of WGN America in a $3.9 billion deal led to the show’s demise after two seasons.

Rumors began to swirl that Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network or BET would buy the John Legend-produced show, but apparently, those talks are no longer on the table. 

This week, Winfrey confirmed at a Los Angeles press event for Queen Sugar that her network would not be picking up the canceled series. “I can’t afford Underground,” she said as reported by Refinery 29.

“It cost twice as much to make as Queen Sugar. As a matter of fact, my dear friend John Legend called me personally and asked me about it, but we’d already been talking about how we could make it work […] it’s like $5 million an episode, so we can’t afford it. It’s not cheap, I think because it’s a period piece.”

Additionally BET has also confirmed that they won’t be picking up the series either. Earlier this week at the Paley Center for Media, BET’s chairman and CEO Debra Lee said, “I was… I am very interested… we had conversations before it was announced that WGN was canceling it… We couldn’t work out a deal… So I don’t know if they already had a deal, and were using us as a stalking horse or what but it’s a wonderful program and I was very interested in it. So I think it’s going to show up somewhere, I just don’t know where yet.” 

Here’s to hoping that Hulu (another rumored buyer) or another network will bring the show back to the small screen!


Hide Transcript
[BLANK_AUDIO] Is there a lot of similarities [UNKNOWN] as you often talk about how Underground has a lot of similarities to kinda the climate that we're going through now. Tell us about those similarities, [LAUGH] And how we can learn to kinda push through by watching the season. I had to take my head off that Bastard [LAUGH]. Well. Mm-hm. No, no. I mean for me it's just a wonderful experience because this is the first time that I've actually really been exposed to this true history. And it gives me a different appreciation for my heritage which is American history, not just a question to being Black American history. This is something we all benefit from and it shows that these are issues we still deal with today and things that we still need to confront in a very open and honest, and to a degree, almost in an aggressive way, non violent, but aggressive and it means not beating around the bush. Threatened. A lot of people say, why another show like this? That's because it didn't want to deal with it or see what we had seen before. But now they get to see heroes and people fight for their values and their own self worth because they know it. [BLANK_AUDIO]