Los Angeles, July 6, 2016 – A crowd of cheering fans greeted WGN America's "Underground" stars Aldis Hodge (“Noah”), Alano Miller (“Cato”) and Amirah Vann (“Ernestine”), and director and executive producer Anthony Hemingway, as the celebrated group took center stage at the 2016 Essence Festival, the nation’s top showcase for African American music and culture.  Moderator Cori Murray from Essence Magazine covered hot topics, spanning from the phenomenon the record-breaking series "Underground" has become to what's in store for the series' season two, during the not-to-be-missed panel discussion at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 1. 

When asked about "Underground's" relevance to today, Hodge's comments was applauded, "we are all necessary to the progression of America...we need to continue to build without judgement. No problem is bigger than love."  Continuing the ovation, Director Anthony Hemingway added, "How active is your activism?  Everybody has a purpose.”  Miller thoughts about the importance of the powerful story of the heroes of the Underground Railroad were also lauded, "we have that fight in's important that we talk about the revolution.”  Fans affirmed their appreciation for Vann's response to a question about the strength of her popular character “Ernestine,” saying “women have been running the ship for a long many of our mamas are like ‘Ernestine’?”  

From executive producer John Legend and creators and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, “Underground” tells the unflinching story of some of America’s most heroic freedom fighters—slaves who risked their lives to reach freedom and claim their civil rights.  Season two will begin production this summer for a 2017 debut.

The first season of WGN America's "Underground" captured the pop culture zeitgeist and scored 3 million Total Viewers in Live + 7 delivery on Wednesday nights, and made history as the network's most-watched original series ever.  The series also ignited Twitter as the #1 most social cable drama on Wednesday nights and trended worldwide on the same day the U.S. Treasury Department announced Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.  

From executive producer John Legend, “Underground” is created by Misha Green ("Sons of Anarchy," "Heroes") and Joe Pokaski (“Daredevil,” "Heroes,") who executive produce alongside Academy Award-winner Akiva Goldsman ("A Beautiful Mind," "I Am Legend") of Weed Road Pictures; and Joby Harold ("King Arthur," "Edge of Tomorrow") and Tory Tunnell ("King Arthur," "Holy Rollers") of Safehouse Pictures; Get Lifted partners Mike Jackson and Ty Stiklorius executive produce. Additionally, Get Lifted oversees all elements of the show’s music. Anthony Hemingway (“The Wire,” “Treme”) directs and executive produces the series. 

The freshman season of "Underground" featured an acclaimed cast, including Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“True Blood,” “Friday Night Lights”), Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”), Christopher Meloni (“Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”), Alano Miller (“Jane The Virgin”), Jessica de Gouw (“Arrow,” “Dracula”), Marc Blucas (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”), Adina Porter (“The 100”), Mykelti Williamson (“Justified,” “24”), Amirah Vann (“Girls,” “And So It Goes”), Johnny Ray Gill (“Rectify”), Chris Chalk (“Gotham”), Reed Diamond (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Theodus Crane (“The Walking Dead”), James Lafferty (“One Tree Hill”), Renwick Scott (“Treme”) and Jussie Smollett (“Empire”). 

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WGN America and Tribune Studios

WGN America, the flagship entertainment network of Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) is nationally distributed in nearly 80 million homes via cable, satellite and telco, with high-quality entertainment programming including the breakout hit series “Outsiders,” “Underground” and “Salem." 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, original content is produced for WGN America and Tribune local stations nationwide.  Follow the network on Twitter @wgnamerica.  For additional information, please visit

Social Media Handles:


Twitter:  @UndergroundWGN


“Underground” Panelist Social Media Handles:

Aldis Hodge: @AldisHodge

Alano Miller: @AlanoMiller

Amirah Vann: @amirahvann

Anthony Hemingway: @shinybootz