Since WGN has been airing Cubs games for years, many viewers have a hard time associating it with things that are successful. However, WGN’s break into original programming has done significantly better than the Cubs have in the last 100 years, and the network has already given its flagship shows—Salem and Manhattan—second seasons. Now it’s hoping to continue avoiding Cubs-like failure with a handful of new shows, one of which is Underground, a new drama series about the Underground Railroad. We first reported on WGN developing Underground back in August, and—according to Deadline—the network has already picked it up for a full season.
Also according to Deadline, Law & Order: SVU’s Christopher Meloni will star in the series, alongside Jessica De Gouw (Arrow‘s The Huntress), Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights) and Aldis Hodge (Turn). Meloni will be playing August, “a secretive mercenary who walks a tightrope between survival and morality” and may or may not talk to a can of mixed vegetables. Smollett-Bell will play Rosalee, “a show house slave with a powerful inner strength and courage.” Hodge will be Noah, “a brave and clever slave on the plantation with dreams of freedom and a dangerous plan to escape.” Finally, De Gouw will be Elizabeth, “a socialite who shares her husband’s abolitionist ideals,” with her husband presumably being Meloni.
On top of all of that, recent apologizer Kanye West is apparently in talks “for a role on the music side of the series,” which takes Underground from “huh, interesting” to “take that, real networks.” Interestingly, NBC is also developing an Underground Railroad project, and Stevie Wonder is not only producing it, but writing the score for a Broadway musical based on the same book that it’s based on. What does it say about the state of NBC that we have a little more faith in WGN’s version? Also, does NBC ever air Cubs games?