WGN to bring Appalachia and the Underground Railroad to TV

WGN to bring Appalachia and the Underground Railroad to TV

The Underground Railroad, Charles T. Webber
The Underground Railroad, Charles T. Webber

Fresh off the debuts of its last two scripted projects, Salem and Manhattan, WGN America is looking ahead to two more: Titans, set in Appalachia, and Underground, about the Underground Railroad. Like Salem and Manhattan, Underground will also be period fare, set in the antebellum South. Titans looks like to be set in the present, though given that the premise indicates it’s about a clan of outsiders who have lived in Appalachia forever—“off the grid and above the law”—it will likely feel like a period piece.

Titans has been ordered straight to series, so 13 episodes of that hourlong drama are forthcoming. Underground is still developing, but the press release from WGN indicates that it’s being done so “with an eye toward a series order.”

The announcement of these two new series is a sign of a lot of optimism from the network about its scripted ventures. With Titans and Underground, WGN is creating a niche for itself: hourlong dramas with one-word titles that are vaguely about American history. (Given the wide disparity in quality between Salem and Manhattan, it remains to be seen if that niche is any good.)

Titans is the work of Peter Mattei, a playwright and screenwriter who wrote and directed the 2002 film Love In The Time Of Money. (Most importantly, he was a staff writer on Clarissa Explains It All.) Underground is the brainchild of Misha Green—who has worked in the writers’ room for Helix, Sons Of Anarchy, and Heroesand Joe Pokaski, who’s served on both Heroes and CSI.

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