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Category: Underground

WGN America’s UNDERGROUND Receives 3 Cablefax Program Awards

294694857-FF4A-0562-67E78204C469A933BROADWAY WORLD – WGN America’s acclaimed series UNDERGROUND, which follows a courageous group of American heroes who attempt a daring flight to freedom from slavery, was honored with three Cablefax Program Awards for Best New Program, Best Historical Show or Series and Best Showrunners (creators, writers, and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski). Series stars Jurnee Smollett-Bell (“Rosalee”) and Aldis Hodge (“Noah”) were also acknowledged with honorable mentions in the Best Actress and Best Actor categories. These honors mark WGN America’s first Cablefax wins since the network’s recent transformation into a destination for high-quality original programming in 2014.

 

“Underground” took the country by storm this year, sparking a nationwide conversation and igniting Twitter as the #1 most social cable drama each week it aired. The series premiere ranked among the top 10 new cable dramas this TV season in Live + 3 delivery and scored 3 million Total Viewers weekly, making history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever. Season two begins production this summer for a 2017 premiere on WGN America.

 

WGN America’s intense and gritty original drama “Outsiders,” a breakout hit, was also recognized with honorable mentions in several categories, including Best Program, Best New Program and Best Actor (David Morse as “Big Foster”). The premiere of “Outsiders” ranked among the top 10 new cable dramas this TV season, and the series averaged an impressive 2.8 million Total Viewers and 1.4 million Adults 25-54 on Tuesday nights in Live + 7 viewing. A struggle of power and control set in the rugged hills of Appalachia, the series explores the epic battle between the Farrell clan and their fight to defend their way of life from the town below and anyone who would dare to challenge them. The second season of “Outsiders” is currently in production and will premiere in early 2017.

 

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‘Underground’ Lauded at NAACP’s 107th Annual Convention

BROADCASTING CABLE – Los Angeles, July 20, 2016 – WGN America’s Underground Railroad thriller “Underground,” called a “smash hit,” by the New York Times and “the most powerful show on TV,” by Ebony, was hailed at the 107th NAACP Annual Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio with a standing room only event at the National Underground Railroad Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater on Monday afternoon. “Underground” creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and stars Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Amirah Vann, headlined a panel discussion punctuated by applause as they delivered impassioned remarks about the heroes of the Underground Railroad. NAACP President and CEO Cornell Brooks praised “Underground” for its timely message of hope, commenting that it “excites and ignites the imagination and the creativity of our young people…and we, as a country, need to draw upon our history that we might find the sole sustenance for the facing of this hour.”

 

During President Brooks’ reception attended by more than 1,000 NAACP delegates, the “Underground” stars, who co-hosted the evening, shared their thoughts on the series’ relevance to today. Aldis Hodge said, “We all want two things, growth and change…not only for our generation but for generations to come.” Alano Miller remarked, “We stand before you as a unified front because unity is power.” Amirah Vann added, “We are so proud to be a part of ‘Underground,’ because it depicts the same movement of courage.”

 

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center President Dr. Clarence Newsome, who participated in the panel with the cast and creative team, gave them an awe-inspiring tour of the Center that depicts the struggle, perseverance and history of the people portrayed in the critically acclaimed series set in the 1857 Antebellum South.

 

Prior to the panel and reception, on Sunday, the “Underground” stars hosted the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Awards ceremony where 1,000 of the nation’s best and brightest high school students turned finalists after competing against thousands of other students in the year-long achievement program.

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‘Underground’ Featured at The NAACP’s 107th Annual Convention

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks and “Underground” Stars Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Amirah Vann and Creators Misha Green and Joe Pokaski to Co-Host the President’s Reception, Monday, July 18

 

Underground Railroad Escape Series Set for First-Ever Screening at the Renowned National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in the Harriet Tubman Theater

 

“Underground” Stars to Host the NAACP ACT-SO Awards, Sunday, July 17

 

BROADCASTING CABLE – Los Angeles, July 12, 2016 — WGN America’s acclaimed series “Underground,” which follows a courageous group of American heroes who attempt a daring flight to freedom from slavery, has teamed with the 107th NAACP Annual Convention, July 17-18 in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Underground” creators, writers and executive producers Misha Green and Joe Pokaski, and stars Aldis Hodge, Alano Miller and Amirah Vann, will co-host NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks’ reception for more than 1,500 NAACP convention delegates, where the cast will be featured speakers at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Monday, July 18 at 7:30 p.m. Preceding the reception at 4:30 p.m., the cast and creators will participate in a red carpet screening of the Underground Railroad escape series for the first time at the Freedom Center’s Harriet Tubman Theater, and reunite with Freedom Center President Dr. Clarence G. Newsome for a moderated discussion, a follow up to their joint panel at The White House earlier this year.

 

The “Underground” stars will also host the NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (ACT-SO) Awards Ceremony highlighting more than 1,000 best and brightest students from around the nation who have risen to become finalists after competing against thousands of other high school students in a year-long achievement program. “Underground” cast members Hodge, Vann and Miller, a previous ACT-SO award winner, will present the awards to be streamed live on ACT-SO’s YouTube Channel on Sunday, July 17 at 12:30 p.m. at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

 

Produced by Sony Pictures Television and Tribune Studios, “Underground” took the country by storm this year, sparking a nationwide conversation and igniting Twitter as the #1 most social cable drama each week it aired. The series trended worldwide on the same day the U.S. Treasury Department announced Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, a move applauded by the cast and creative team who have traveled the country speaking about the Underground Railroad’s relevance to today.

 

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. The first season of “Underground” delivered 3 million Total Viewers weekly, and made history as WGN America’s most-watched original program ever. Season two will begin production this summer for a 2017 debut.

 

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Madame Noire Talked to Aldis and Alano Miller at Essence Festival

 

Madam Noire – We don’t know if it’s the characters they portray on TV or their personas off screen, but there was just something about talking to Aldis Hodge And Alano Miller that was refreshing. We caught up with the stars of Underground during Essence Fest and they had great things to say about the moment they knew the WGN series was going to be a hit and how they feel playing these roles in a time when patience for slave narratives is running thin.

 

Check out our chat with the fellas above and tell us what you think about their pride as Black men and actors playing these parts.

 

2016 Television Critics Association Awards nominations

EW – With Emmy season in full swing, the Television Critics Association has announced the roster of nominees for its 32nd annual awards ceremony, boosting HBO and FX to the top of the pack with 12 and 11 overall nominations, respectively.

 

While HBO and FX lead in total nominations, USA’s Mr. Robot, a first-time nominee, garnered the most individual nods for a series (tied with FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story), earning recognition in Individual Achievement in Drama (Rami Malek), Outstanding New Program, Outstanding Achievement in Drama, and Program of the Year.

 

Elsewhere in Program of the Year, HBO scored a nomination for Game of Thrones, while FX landed three series amid the category’s seven slots: Fargo, The Americans, and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Lifetime’s UnREAL and Netflix’s Making a Murderer round out the list of Program of the Year contenders.

 

The CW also made a strong showing with the TCA, earning three total nominations for its Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, including in Individual Achievement in Comedy (Rachel Bloom) and Outstanding New Program. It’s worth noting that each of the nominees in the latter category come from smaller networks, as series from the usual suspects like ABC, HBO, and other major TV players are noticeably absent. WGN America (Underground), Netflix (Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Masters of None), USA (Mr. Robot), and Lifetime (UnREAL), however, picked up the slack.
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Gallery Update

Aldis has been busy promoting Underground at the various award show panels (for Emmys and SAG awards). I’ve also replaced the screencaps I had for “Die Hard with a Vengeance” with HQ screencaps from Blu-Ray.

 

 

Gallery Links:

Aldis Hodge: Rogue Magazine Interview

Somehow I missed this interview!

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THE ROGUE MAGAZINE – You may be familiar with Aldis Hodge from his five seasons on the TV show Leverage, or you may have caught him on the big screen in any myriad of movies like The East and most recently Straight Outta Compton, portraying MC Ren. In 2016, you can catch him in WGN’s new series Underground. Hodge gives us the skinny on both projects.

 

Tell us about your new show Underground.

 

AH: Underground, which is set in the 1850’s, tells the story of a group of enslaved people in Georgia who revolt against slavery and chase the legend of the Underground railroad to gain freedom.

 

The subject matter is intense in regards to the slavery aspect, but I’m sure it’s about much more…tell us more about its perspective.

 

AH: It’s a story that engages and questions the “human condition” i/e how we treat one another based on how we value ourselves. It also serves as a great platform to expose the true prominence of The enslaved Americans of this nation. It displays their true strength, courage, and heart as opposed to viewing them from a point of victimization as we often see with slave-narratives. They fight back with vigor. It’s an all out rebellion – we go to WAR!!!

 

How did you prepare for your role as MC Ren in Straight Outta Compton? The fact that your role is based on a real person, did that change your regular approach to the character?

AH: I prepared mostly by listening to their music. Since my role was based on a real person, that helped immensely because there wasn’t much I had to figure out. I could simply pick up the phone and go straight to the source.

 

“My number one priority was to make Ren happy. After that it was about honoring the fans with a solid performance and giving the character a sense of honesty that people don’t often see.”

 

How was it meeting the real Ren, did he give you much guidance? Did he approve of the direction you took with the role?

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Aldis Hodge on tackling ‘uncomfortable subject’ in slavery drama series


 

GOLD DERBY – “When it came to representing this particular culture and this particular timeframe for American history, I wanted to show all that we haven’t seen,” says “Underground” star Aldis Hodge as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his hit WGN America series. The actor plays Noah, the leader of a group of runaway slaves who try to escape via the Underground Railroad. “I saw how smart this character was. He’s just so cunning and beguiling when it comes to how he needs to play all of these people around him like chess pieces.”

 

When we first meet Noah, he’s been brought back to the plantation after an unsuccessful escape attempt. “That’s why he said, ‘I need to go recruit some people,” explains Hodge, “because they have all these different skills that I need.’” This team includes the cunning and crafty Cado (Alano Miller), the shy yet courageous Rosalie (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and the fiery preacher Moses (Mykelti Williamson).

 

“At first, they depend on him,” he explains, “but I think along the way, at least for me personally, I feel like he depended on them. Just growing as a man, he grew in mercy, he grew in understanding, he grew in compassion for dealing with all of these people and having them obligated to him and his path. I loved the complexity in him trying to figure out what choice to make, and trying to decide whether or not it is the right choice, because there’s no easy choice.”

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Speakeasy Podcast: ‘Underground’ Star Aldis Hodge on the Season Finale

‘What they’re fighting for is not complicated,’ the actor says of the runaway slaves on the series

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WALL STREET JOURNAL – “Underground,” the WGN America drama about an antebellum plantation and a group of escaped slaves, wrapped up its first season on Wednesday night, completing the story of the “Macon 7” and setting the stage for season two.

 

That second season was never a guarantee for this show, and while star Aldis Hodge wasn’t necessarily worried about that, he said that there was an effort on part of the cast and crew to pour everything into season one.

 

“We wanted people to remember what this was,” he said on the Speakeasy podcast. “Even if it was one season, it was one hell of a season.” In the interview, he talked about last night’s finale, how the show reflects an ongoing struggle, and how he’s handled moving into a starring role.

 

At the end of the finale, Hodge’s Noah is back in bondage, captured after staging a diversion that allows two others to escape to freedom. Ernestine (Amirah Vann) — after murdering her master — is put on the auction block. Cato (Alano Miller) is alive and somewhere on the road. The biggest twist comes at the very end: Rosalee (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), now free in the north, determines to go back south to get more of her family, and is brought to meet the Underground Railroad’s real-life hero, Harriet Tubman, who plans to train Rosalee.

 

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