article by Rick Kissell via Variety.com
“Underground,” the critically acclaimed first-year drama about the Underground Railroad and the most-watched original scripted series ever for WGN America, has been renewed for a second season.
The network announced Monday that “Underground” will return for a 10-episode second season in 2017. Production will get under way this summer for the series, which hails from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios.
Created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, “Underground” averages 3 million total viewers on Wednesday nights this season, according to Nielsen’s “live plus-7” estimates. It grows on average from its same-day numbers by roughly 130%, and is the No. 6-rated scripted series premiere for any cable drama this season. Last week, it was Wednesday’s No. 1 original scripted cable series across all key demos in “live plus-3” ratings.
Compared with the WGN American primetime average this season, “Underground” is delivering roughly six times as many total viewers and about 11 times as many adults 18-49, according to L+7 Nielsen estimates.
“Underground” follows a courageous group of American heroes who attempt a daring flight to freedom in one of the greatest escapes in history. It is executive-produced by Misha Green, Joe Pokaski, John Legens, Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell, Joby Harold, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorius and Anthony Hemingway.
The cast includes Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Aldis Hodge, Christopher Meloni, Alano Miller, Jessica de Gouw, Marc Blucas, Adina Porter, Mykelti Williamson, Amirah Vann, Johnny Ray Gill, Chris Chalk, Reed Diamond, Theodus Crane, James Lafferty, Renwick Scott and Jussie Smollett.
The series, which was screened at the White House in February, boasts a large and loyal fan base that live tweets the series each week, along with the cast and creative team, making “Underground” the No. 1 most social cable drama on Wednesday nights. The series trended worldwide last week, on the same day the U.S. Department of Treasury made it announcement that abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman, who led many enslaved people to freedom on the Underground Railroad, will appear on the face of $20 bill.