After the news broke, executive producer John Legend commented about the show being canceled.
“WGN America has been bought and is going a different direction strategically. We will find a new home for #Underground!” tweeted Legend. “Content wins. We’re not reliant on a particular network to make great content. We’re so proud of our show and the audience that supported!”
“Be wary of Sinclair though. They’re trying to make local stations mini Fox Newses, but more to the right,” Legend added.
Peter Kern, President and CEO of Tribune, issued the following statement about the cancellation of Underground.
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. 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.
John Legend echoed Kern’s hope that Underground lands on another network.
He posted, “Feel free to drop some hints to the networks/streaming services you want to pick up #Underground. Show them who will be watching!”
During its two-year run, Underground received nominations from the NAACP Image Awards and the TCA Awards.
The show also won three CableFax Awards for Best New Program, Best Historical Show/Series, and Best Showrunners.
Season one averaged around 1 million viewers per episode, but the second season slipped to about an average of 500,000 viewers per episode.
Underground told the story of the famous Underground Railroad in slavery-era Georgia.
It starred Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Jessica De Gouw, Alano Miller, and Christopher Meloni.
“The story of the Underground Railroad is a story we hadn’t heard yet. The Underground Railroad was the first integrated civil rights movement in our nation,” said Smollett-Bell at a screening in 2016. “It was one of the first times we really rebelled. I wanted to see that story. I wanted to explore us being revolutionaries. I wanted to explore us revolting and fighting back.”