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A Scripted Series Based on Stories of the Underground Railroad Is Coming to a TV Screen Near You

A Scripted Series Based on Stories of the Underground Railroad Is Coming to a TV Screen Near You

Expanding its slate of original programming, WGN America today announced it has an eye toward a series order, for the scripted series "Underground." 

Produced by Sony Pictures Television (SPT) and Tribune Studios for an expected 2015 premiere, "Underground" will follow the slaves who set foot on the fabled Underground Railroad, the secret network of men and women who risked their lives aiding them, and the mercenaries tasked with hunting them down at any cost, during a time when, for a slave living in the pre-Civil War South, this road to freedom was a dangerous journey where failure often meant death.

"Underground" is created and written by Misha Green ("Sons Of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski ("Heroes," "CSI") who also serve as Executive Producers, with writer Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind," "I Am Legend").

"WGN America has made a commitment to quality programming and we are happy that working together is a significant part of their growth strategy," said Zack Van Amburg, president of programming and production for SPT. 

"High-quality original series have consistently helped establish channel brands with the audience, and WGN appreciates and takes that value proposition seriously," added Jamie Erlicht, president of programming and production for SPT.

No other details are available on the project at this time.

So who would cast to play Harriet Tubman?

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No prominent actress is better suited for the role than Viola Davis.


Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson.
Same face.


I don't care who they get for Harriet Tubman, I'm not watching this. I don't care for how white owned stations showcase the black experience. They always get it wrong. Black writer be damned.

What are they trying to do? Get the black woman viewership? I hope we don't fall for this.

Z Strachan

Real important story. Please don't mess it up.


Thandie Newton would be outstanding as Harriet Tubman.


Oh no, Akiva Goldsman. Couldn't they have picked a better writer?


Brooklyn Sudano would be an excellent choice to play Harriet Tubman!


I'm skeptical about this. But I'd nominate Angela Bassett.


Naw none of those choices are going down -You and I both know they are going to get Helen Mirren to play Harriet Tubman (The New Hollywood Genocide against Black talent ) and as a young Harriet Tubman they will get Jennifer Aniston!


My Candidate for Harriet Tubman? Viola Davis, but she's got a gig on "How to Get Away with Murder."


In theory it could work because the operation was surrounded with so much espionage like intrigue. Think "Turn" but with more black people.

Up In The Balcony

Really… a series based on the underground railroad and Harriet Tubman?! Quick, call Fiddler, Chicken George and Kunta Kinta… and tell them there's a job opening. And while you're at it, send a memo to white people… "From the creators of "The Help", The Blind Side, Get On Up and Roots, comes the movie "Miss Choo-Choo": The first black woman allowed to drive on the railroad — DOWN UNDAH THE GROUND!

[ After hearing the news of a scripted series on the Underground Railroad, Black Statler and his disagreeable friend Up In The Balcony, Black Waldorf, are heard discussing the "storms" on the horizon]

Statler: I'm telling you man, white folks and young African Americans are not interested in our history unless…

Waldorf: Wait… are you trying to tell me our youth are not interested in our history?

Statler: No, I'm telling you they may be black and proud but they're more advanced than we were at their age, so they don't have time to see the white man's version of the underground railroad, unless…

Waldorf: Hold it right there. I know social media is the new craze but this is educational. You know, something like food for the soul?

Statler: But you're not listening. Today's youth wanna see some real food on their plates, not "Uncle Sam's" fairy tales. Besides, what's educational and new about a story centered on poor black folks being called "Ni**er" a thousand times… gunned down by the hands of white authority figures and unjustly imprisoned?

Waldorf: Oh my, you're opening my eyes. and how many times have we seen the uneducated black man, slave or whatever, front and center… talking like he has lost his mind and never had a job, huh.

Statler: Yep, all those dynamics that gives white folks something to laugh at, is not educational nor new… it's on the 10 o'clock news every night.

Waldorf: But it's blasphemous to talk negatively about Harriet Tubman.

Statler: Maybe, but we have uglier issues to deal with. If this series moves ahead as planned, who will play Harriet Tubman?

"Well, if white folks have any say in the matter — and considering the new trend of hiring near white or light-skinned actresses — I have a few who might be considered"

"Hold up now… did you see who was cast to play Missy Elliot in the Aaliyah biopic?"
"Yes I did, Chattrisse Dolabaile, a size 8 light-skinned Canadian. So shame on the Lifetime Channel"
"Nope, not so fast. The real culprits are Debra Martin Chase, Wendy Williams and Tracy "Twinkie" Byrd… all black women!"

"OMG, they…"
"Yes THEY did"
"NO! They're the HNIC of hiring and casting?"
"Yes they are. Lifetime's role is quite different than what many think it is"
"Thanks for pulling my coat. Now I can think of a few actresses who's prime for the part. Lets see… she has to be the right color, older and preferably married to a white man"
"Married to a white man? Where did that come from"
"Shiiiiit, did you think Paula Patton got all her parts based on her acting skills, alone?"
"Yeah, I know, so work with me. Lets see… there's Sanaa Lathan, Alfrie Woodard, Whoopie Goldberg, Garcelle Beauvais"
"Not Jamie Foxx' girl friend on The Jamie Foxx Show? She's down with the white crown?"

"Yes, that Garcelle, but stop interrupting. Now where was I… Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Roxie Roker and Alice Walker"
"OMG, not Alice Walker?"
"What, you didn't know she dated white men?"
"No, that's not it. I thought she was old enough to actually be on the underground railroad while she wrote "A Color Purple"
*lol*… and you're a fool. But listen, I have to scratch them all because they're all too black"
"Ooooh… so we're left with Zoe Saldana, Halle Berry and S&A's favorite Paula Patton"
"Don't look at me… its your call, but you have left out one"
"Who's that?"
"Janet Jackson!"
"Damn, that's right, she did leave the Lucky Charms Leprechaun look-a-like Jermaine Dupri and married Dudley Do Right, so lets take a look at her"
"Well, she's an older actress who shines in the most over-the-top melodrama **coughTyler'scoughfilms**, so she's made for the part"
"But wait, isn't she a bit too dark?"
"Shiiiiiiiiit, if Zoe Saldana can be make-up to play Nina Simone, I am sure Miss Jackson (Janet if you're nasty) can borrow La Toya's makeup and fit right in"

Statler: Well, I guess it's all set… Miss Choo-Choo: The story of first black slave allowed to drive on the underground railroad, starring Janet Jackson as Harriet Tubman and Harrison Ford as George Pullman, the founder of The Pullman Palace Car Company.

Waldorf: Oh no, not another "black" movie running interference for yet another white savior film?

Statler: Did you really believe it would be something else?

Waldorf: Well, for a second I must have lapsed into a dark pit of lunacy.

Statler: That you did my friend. So turn out the lights so we can really refresh our minds.

Fade to black….


Harriet carried a Colt 45 under her skirt and smoked a pipe. Not that many bad itches can play this woman. Was she a lesbo? i'm just saying.

If she was white; White christians would have burned her at the stake.


Why aren't channels that are supposed to be targeting black audiences (TV One, Aspire) doing these types of series? If they do something scripted, it's some corny, buffoonish sitcom no one watches.


Daniel Myatt Please tell me this isn't a Russell Simmons project!


I wish this was a documentary series instead of a scripted series. Misha Green must have been desperate!

Reader 1

"And a white man gets paid off of all of that."

Cheers to slavery for still being a source of income for "the man" and a reminder to AA's that our present day is only temporary.

Thanks WGN.


Harriet Tubman should be played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw.

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