12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Anna Paquin Drama 'Bellevue' Acquired by WGN America
WGN America 2.0 is starting to take shape.
The cable network, which is exiting the scripted originals space, has acquired linear rights to Canadian drama Bellevue, starring Anna Paquin.
Fresh off canceling all of its scripted originals — including the well-rated critical darling Underground — WGN America is turning instead to low-cost acquisitions like the Muse Entertainment drama, which marks its first pickup since network president Matt Cherniss' departure.
WGN America will have U.S. linear rights to the eight-episode mystery drama that stars Paquin as a detective charged with exploring the case of a missing high school hockey star. Allen Leech and Shawn Doyle co-star on the series from creators/showrunners Jane Maggs and Adrienne Mitchell. Paquin also executive produces the Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Film Productions project, which will debut on WGN America in 2018 after first launching on Canada's CBC.
Following WGN America's decision to exit the scripted originals space — a move that stemmed from Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of parent company Tribune Media — Cherniss exited the cable network. Tribune CEO Peter Kern tapped Gavin Harvey as interim president. The cabler now is shifting from high-cost originals to more cost-effective originals and reruns, with sources noting the new WGN America will be more in line with ION rather than AMC. Bellevue is the first pickup under its new direction. Watch the trailer, below.