Based on the book of the same name by Matt Ruff, the anthology horror series follows 25-year-old Atticus Black, who joins up with his friend Letitia and his Uncle George to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America to find his missing father. They must survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the malevolent spirits that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback.
“Underground” co-creator and showrunner Misha Green will write and executive produce the series, with Peele executive producing through his Monkeypaw Productions banner. J.J. Abrams and Ben Stephenson will also executive produce through Bad Robot, with Warner Bros. Television producing.
Peele, who broke out on the Comedy Central series “Key & Peele,” has been in high demand ever since the success of his low-budget horror film “Get Out.” The film, about a black man who discovers a dark secret at his Caucasian girlfriend’s family estate, has grossed almost $215 million worldwide on a $4.5 million budget.
He recently signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures based on the success of “Get Out.” Under the deal, Universal will develop Peele’s next film, an untitled social thriller, which he will write, direct, and produce based on his original idea. In addition, Peele will also produce a wide range of movies for the studio through Monkeypaw Productions, including several micro-budget projects with Jason Blum, as he did with “Get Out.”
For Green, the new series comes along as the fate of “Underground” remains uncertain. Despite critical praise, the WGN America show saw a drop in the live-plus-same day ratings during its sophomore season. In addition, Sinclair Broadcasting recently announced they will acquire WGN parent company Tribune Media, with plans to shift focus away from producing original series. To that end, WGN recently canceled their other original, “Outsiders,” which enjoyed higher ratings than “Underground.”
Deadline first reported this news.