‘Titans’ and ‘Underground’: WGN Brings Appalachia and Underground Railroad Slavery to TV

By bryant | 3 years ago
‘Titans’ and ‘Underground’: WGN Brings Appalachia and Underground Railroad Slavery to TV
WGN America/Wikipedia

For its next projects, WGN America brings to TV two different worlds: the hills of Appalachia and the country’s underground railroad slavery. Meet “Titans” and “Underground”.

The network ordered 13 episodes for the drama “Titans”, which chronicles the struggles for control and power in the hills of the Appalachia. The series, which follow a family that has been living off the grid, has yet to begin casting.

WGN is also eyeing a series order for “Underground”, which is a scripted period drama about slaves who are escaping in the North to have a better life. It is currently in pre-production. “Underground” tells the story of the slaves who used the Underground Railroad in their quest for freedom, their struggles, and the mercenaries who are hunting them down.

Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios produce both “Titans” and “Underground”, which are expected to air on WGN in 2015. Bot dramas are joining WGN’s recent projects “Salem” and “Manhattan”.

The “Titans” is the brainchild of playwright and screenwriter Peter Mattei, who also directed and wrote the film “Love In the Time of Money” in 2002. He also worked as a staff writer on “Clarissa Explains It All”).

Misha Green and Joe Pokaski are behind “Underground”. Green has worked for shows such as “Helix”, “Sons of Anarchy”, and “Heroes”. Pokaski worked for “Heroes” and “CSI”.

“These projects, each exploring a world we find to be unique and fascinating, continue our aggressive expansion into original scripted programming,” said Matt Cherniss, president and general manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios.

The network’s announcement of “Titans and Underground” is a reflection of the network’s optimism about its scripted projects. With these two new series, the network is creating a niche on its own: hour-long dramas containing one-word titles that are, in a vague way, about American History.

WGN America started its strategy to become an active player in the original series this year with “Salem”, a drama about witch trials, and “Manhattan”, about the development of nuclear weaponry in the 1940s. Bot series have been acclaimed by the critics and the industry.

Also on deck is the “The 10 Commandments,” a series that features notable helmers that offer their own takes on stories that were drawn from the Biblical rule book.

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