WGN America’s recent cancellation of the hit antebellum-set drama Underground was a blow to both television and to TV lovers who are enthralled and fascinated by the history of slavery and race in this country. Though there is still hope that the series will get picked up by either Netflix or Hulu, many fans were confused as to why both BET and Oprah Winfrey’s OWN decided to pass on the acclaimed series.
Recently, at a press event for Queen Sugar in Los Angeles. EBONY sat down with Oprah Winfrey who confirmed that she would not be picking up the series. She said,
“I can’t afford Underground. It cost twice as much to make as Queen Sugar. As a matter of fact, my dear friend John Legend called me personally and asked me about it, but we’d already been talking about how we could make it work – it’s like $5 million an episode, so we can’t afford it. It’s not cheap; I think because it’s a period piece.”
Sitting in a very intimate setting with a small group of journalists, Winfrey added thoughtfully, “We really tried to make it work, I wanted to make it work because I think it’s a good show. I wanted to be able to save that show, but it did not make good business sense for me.”
Sometimes it seems that things truly do boil down to rating and numbers. Winfrey expressed that though Underground has a loyal following, the ratings just did not make sense for OWN since it’s only about six years old and is still finding its footing.
Now that The Get Down and Sense8 are over on Netflix, here’s hoping the streaming platform swoops in and saves the day. We’re sure the series executive producer John Legend has one last move up his sleeve.
Photo Credit: Getty/ Dimitrios Kambouris