John Legend Replaces Kanye West as Underground's Music Boss

John Legend‘s EGOT plan is continuing right on schedule.

The multiple Grammy-winner — who also picked up the 2015 Best Original Song Oscar for Selma‘s “Glory” — along with his production company Get Lifted, has signed on to executive-produce and oversee all music aspects of WGN America’s upcoming slavery drama Underground. As TVLine reported when the project was greenlit in February, Kanye West originally was eyed for the position.

Is it too early for 2016 Emmy buzz for Legend in the Original Music category? Probably not, considering Underground‘s lofty pedigree.

The one-hour drama, starring Law & Order: SVU vet Chris Meloni, follows “a group of slaves who plan a daring escape from a Georgia plantation to cross 600 miles to freedom, aided along the way by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad.” It hails from creators/executive producers Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy) and Joe Pokaski (Heroes), as well as EP Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, Fringe).

The cast also includes Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights), Aldis Hodge (Leverage), Alano Miller (Jane the Virgin), Jessica de Gouw (Arrow), Adina Porter (The 100), Amirah Vann (Girls), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Mykelti Williamson (Justified), Reed Diamond (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), James Lafferty (One Tree Hill) and Johnny Ray Gill (Rectify).

The series is slated to premiere in 2016.

Excited about Legend’s involvement in Underground? Does it make you more likely to tune in? Sound off below!


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  1. Rose says:

    really on WGN? this much star power? i thought it was all reruns….

    • Ron says:

      Hey, a network has to break into the original series game in a major way these days. It’s possible this project would receive more recognition if it were on another network. But this could be the thing that really pushes WGN on the map. Mad Men is widely regarded as one of the best shows to grace television, yet no one thought about AMC as anything but a station that shows random movies all the time. TVLand showed reruns day and night of old shows until they landed TV icon Betty White and other well-known TV vets for their first original series HiC. And perhaps most majorly of all, Netflix was nothing more than a place to rent old TV shows and movies until they landed Oscar winner Kevin Spacey to lead one of their first original series ever. And that was just a couple years ago. And now Netflix is an unstoppable beast. Will WGN be the next Netflix? I highly doubt it. But they could honestly be the next AMC, and Underground *could* just be their Mad Men…

  2. Zoe says:

    Wait, if it’s about a group of slaves, why it starring a white guy? Don’t get me wrong, Meloni’s one of my favorite actors, but that makes no sense. Or is it like in SVU where Chris got top billing over Mariska freaking Hargitay?