BROADWAY 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.
They may be fresh on the scene, but the latest batch of Hollywood up-and-comers has a retro edge clearly on display in this time-traveling style portfolio.
VANITY FAIR – This crop of young talents has a sense of history—with such heroes as James Dean, Julie Christie, and Audrey Hepburn—not to mention a penchant for books and vinyl. While echoing the styles of decades past, from Rat Pack cool to madcap flair, they divulge their guilty pleasures, karaoke picks, emoji habits, and much more, for a group portrait of Generation Now.
I’ve found some great additions to a photoshoot from Sundance!
LA CONFIDENTIAL – The mega-hot, multi-multi-hyphenated Aldis Hodge is grabbing the H’wood spotlight… one role at a time.
He’s an actor, painter, and… watchmaker? LA-based Aldis Hodge, 29, is gearing up for his biggest year yet. Starting at age three, Hodge first began as a model, and has built up his portfolio with a slate of primo roles—from Straight Outta Compton to the John Legend–produced TV series Underground. “Some call it luck, but, really, a lot of it is just hard work,” he says. And the A-list-ready actor is gaining momentum—up next he’s playing opposite Tom Cruise in October’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. “Tom knows how to pull the best out of people,” says Hodge, who is currently filming Hidden Figures with an all-star cast including Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner.
The self-proclaimed “gypsy” was homeless for a period of time and lived in several states before settling in LA. “When I tell people I was homeless, it’s to inspire them,” Hodge says. “Even in the worst situations, you smile because that means you have more strength to push forward.” And push forward he did. Through a college course, Hodge discovered his passion for watchmaking. “Art has always been there for me,” says the “actor-preneur,” who is currently working with a luxury Swiss watchmaker to manufacture his hand-designed timepieces. “[All my work] is a step to whatever the big picture is,” he says. “I’m just excited to see what lies ahead.”
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.
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.
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.