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!