John Legend fights for new home for 'Underground' in new op-ed, slams 'far-right' Sinclair Media

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September 27th 2017

In an op-ed he released on social media Wednesday morning, John Legend aired out a case to save his critically-acclaimed show, Underground, which aired on WGN for two seasons but was canceled by the network after it got a new owner.

The move came after Sinclair Media Group's acquisition of Tribune Media in a deal valued at $3.9 billion, announced earlier this month. And with the purchase, it was expected that the network's new owners would likely have other plans for the properties they just bought.

In a portion of the letter, Legend said what people have been thinking, in that Sinclar's agenda which Legend calls "far-right" may have had something to do with the show being removed. “Sinclair has pursued a strategy of buying up local networks and moving their news coverage to fit their far-right agenda. In addition, they’ve bought Tribune Media, the parent company of WGN America and immediately turned away from high-quality original dramas such as Underground and Outsiders in favor of cheaper unscripted entertainment," Legend writes.

Since then, OWN and BET have both passed on the series, which costs $4.5 million an episode to produce.

You can read Legend's letter in full below:

Underground tells the story of revolutionaries of the Underground Railroad who use their ingenuity, power and perseverance to attempt the greatest escape in history despite the dire consequences that awaited them on the other side. Set in a desperate and dangerous time, the provocative and compelling series focuses on a group of courageous men and women who band together for the fight of their lives—for their families, their future and their freedom. The second season of WGN America’s 10-episode Underground Railroad thriller continues the characters’ unremitting struggle for freedom within a divided America on the brink of civil war, each side vying to enact their own justice.

The celebrated cast for "Underground" includes: Jurnee Smollett-Bell as Rosalee, Aldis Hodge as Noah, Jessica de Gouw as Elizabeth Hawkes, Alano Miller as Cato, Christopher Meloni as August Pullman, Amirah Vann as Ernestine and Marc Blucas as John Hawkes. Season two newcomers included Aisha Hinds in the pioneering role of Harriet Tubman, as well as Jasika Nicole as Georgia, DeWanda Wise as Clara, Bokeem Woodbine as Daniel, Michael Trotter as Biographer, Jesse Luken as Smoke, Sadie Stratton as Patty Cannon, Robert Christopher Riley as Hicks and singer-songwriter John Legend as renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

From Sony Pictures Television, “Underground” is created and written by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, who serve as Executive Producers alongside director Anthony Hemingway; Akiva Goldsman of Weed Road Pictures; Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold of Safehouse Pictures; John Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius of Get Lifted Film Co; and Mark Taylor.

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