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LOS ANGELES, June 24, 2015 – WGN America announced today that Jussie Smollett(“Empire“) has signed on to guest star in the cable network’s pulse-pounding thriller “Underground,” in which bravery, ingenuity and power take center stage as slaves band together in the fight of their lives – for their families, their future…and their freedom.  Smollett will play Josey, a wild-eyed runaway who doesn’t trust anyone, not even those stationed along the way who would try to help him.  Hailing from Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” is currently in production on a straight-to-series order in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a 2016 premiere on WGN America. 

“Underground” is the first TV project to which Smollett has been attached since his smash debut on “Empire.” This role also marks the first time in twenty years that Smollett will appear on screen with his younger sister Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Friday Night Lights,” “True Blood,” “The Great Debaters”).  The Smolletts appeared alongside their four other siblings on the series “On Our Own” (1994-95).

Along with Smollett-Bell, the break-out actor joins an internationally renowned cast includingAldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton,” “Leverage,” “Turn”), Emmy-nominated actorChristopher Meloni (“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Adina Porter (“True Blood,” “The 100,” “The Newsroom”), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”), Marc Blucas (“Blue Bloods”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”), Reed Diamond(“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) and Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”).

Smollett, currently starring in “Empire,” was also recently seen in “Revenge” and “The Mindy Project.” 

“Underground” is created and written by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski ("Heroes," "CSI"), who also serve as Executive Producers with Academy Award®-winning writer Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind," "I Am Legend") of Weed Road Pictures, along with Tory Tunnell ("King Arthur," "Holy Rollers") and Joby Harold ("King Arthur," "Edge of Tomorrow") of Safehouse Pictures.  Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and serves as Executive Producer for the first four episodes.

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About WGN America and Tribune Studios

WGN America, the flagship entertainment network of Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO),is nationally distributed in 73 million homes via cable, satellite and telco, with high-quality entertainment programming including the breakout hit series “Salem," critically acclaimed drama “Manhattan," and upcoming scripted dramas “Underground,” “Outsiders” and “Ten Commandments."  The network also brings its audience a strong slate of popular first-run syndicated series and blockbuster movies.  Through Tribune Studios, the creative development arm of Tribune Media Company, original content is produced for WGN America and Tribune local stations nationwide.  Follow the network on Twitter @wgnamerica.  For additional information, please visit