Matt Cherniss WGN America

WGN America is accelerating its original programming rollout with a 13-episode order for Appalachian family drama “Titans” and an fast-track development plan for the Civil War-era drama “Underground.”

Both projects come from Sony Pictures TV and are targeted for debut next year.

“Titans,” created by playwright Peter Mattei, revolves around a family struggling to live off the grid in Appalachia. Mattei is exec producing with Peter Tolan, Paul Giamatti, Dan Carey and Michael Wimer. Project has a 13-episode order.

WGN America and Sony TV have assembled a writers’ room to develop “Underground,” from writers Misha Green (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Joe Pokaski (“Heroes”). Project revolves around the covert network that was assembled to help slaves escape from the South via the Underground Railroad, as well as the mercenaries who tried to stop them. Akiva Goldsman, Tory Tunnell and Joby Harold are exec producing with Green and Pokaski.

“These projects, each exploring a world we find to be unique and fascinating, continue our aggressive expansion into original scripted programming,” said Matt Cherniss (pictured), prexy-g.m. of WGN America and Tribune Studios.

SEE ALSO: How Matt Cherniss is Building Provocative New Worlds for WGN America

Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, Sony TV’s presidents of programming and production, credited WGN America with stepping up to develop high-end skeins.

“High-quality original series have consistently helped establish channel brands with the audience. WGN appreciates and takes that value proposition seriously,” said Erlicht. “We are happy that working together is a significant part of their growth strategy,” added Van Amburg.

WGN America launched its effort to be a player in original series earlier this year with two period pieces, witch-trials drama “Salem” and “Manhattan.” The latter project, about the develop of nuclear weaponry at Los Alamos in the 1940s, has been well-received by the critics and the biz.

Also on deck for the Tribune cabler is “The 10 Commandments,” a limited series featuring a clutch of notable helmers offering their takes on stories drawn from the Biblical rule book.

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