12:10pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
John Legend to Oversee Music, Exec Produce WGN America's 'Underground'
John Legend is boarding WGN America's Underground.
The Oscar winner (Selma) and nine-time Grammy-winning singer-songwriter's Get Lifted production banner has joined the cabler's upcoming drama series to exec produce and oversee music. (Kanye West was initially rumored to be involved with the show's music, though those reports were never confirmed by the network.)
Get Lifted's Legend, Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius will oversee the score, soundtrack and all music aspects of the series, WGN America announced Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.
"We are excited to join forces with WGN America and Sony and the talented team of writers and producers on this powerful project that we believe will inspire us all," Legend said. "This series has a unique opportunity to speak to the passion and courage of those who risked it all as they raced to freedom. We are honored to bring our creative vision to this thrilling project."
Underground centers on a group of slaves planning a daring 600-mile escape from a Georgia plantation. Along the way, they are aided by a secret abolitionist couple running a station on the Underground Railroad as they attempt to evade the people charged with bringing them back, dead or alive.
Christopher Meloni stars as August, a secretive mercenary who walks a tightrope between survival and morality. He toplines a cast that also includes Reed Diamond (Agents of SHIELD), Aldis Hodge (Rectify), Jessica De Gouw (Arrow), Marc Blucas (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jurnee Smollett-Bell. Empire breakout Jussie Smollett will guest star and reunite with his sister, Smollett-Bell.
The drama, ordered straight-to-series, hails from creator Misha Green (Sons of Anarchy) and Joe Pokaski (Heroes). The Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios entry is executive produced by Green, Pokaski, Weed Road Pictures' Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold of Safehouse Pictures.
For Legend, Underground marks his latest TV foray. He also has a Pop series, Sing It On, and has previously developed scripted fare via an overall deal with Legendary TV.