Earlier this year, millions of viewers tuned into WGN America’s breakout series Underground and fell in love with its portrayal of the brave enslaved Black Americans who risked it all for freedom. Now, the series is making history once again.
The drama, which tells the story of valiant enslaved people who fled along the Underground Railroad, will screen in the Oprah Winfrey Theater on Monday, September 26 at the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The show will serve as an introduction for museum visitors to the NMAAC’s exhibit “Slavery and Freedom.” The exhibition, which will be housed in the history galleries, explores the complex story standing at the core of the American experience.
This is another big move for the WGN America series, which recently announced it was adding Aisha Hinds to the cast to portray Harriet Tubman. NMAAC’s museum director, Lonnie Bunch, said the partnership between the series and the show is perfect.
“It is so fitting that we will be screening the critically acclaimed television series ‘Underground,’ which introduces Harriet Tubman,” Bunch said. “The museum has a number of artifacts on display documenting the life and work of this iconic Underground Railroad operator, Civil War spy and suffragist.”
Sony Pictures Television presidents Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlich called inclusion in the museum an “honor.”
“To be included as the inaugural public program of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture is beyond an honor and speaks to the ground-breaking power and culturally significant impact that one television show can have,” they said in a press release.
Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios, echoed their thoughts.
“‘Underground’ is a powerful series, one that speaks to our collective history in a way that deeply resonates with viewers, and it is a tremendous honor to be a part of this historic moment as the inaugural public program of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture,” he said.
Underground was a ratings boon for the network, drawing in an average of three million viewers each week. The show stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller, Jessica de Gouw, Amirah Vann, Christopher Meloni and Marc Blucas. The series is produced by singer-songwriter John Legend.