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Even Oprah Can't Afford To Save "Underground"

"It's like, $5 million an episode — can't afford it."

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Last week, fans of WGN America's Underground had to say goodbye to the series after new owners cleaned house of all the network's original shows.

Jurnee Smollett-Bell / Via instagram.com

Executive producer John Legend said they were shopping the show elsewhere.

WGN America has been bought and is going a different direction strategically. We will find a new home for… https://t.co/vjmzNWt1Fb

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And there were rumblings of Oprah Winfrey adding the show to her OWN lineup.

Oprah's OWN Network In the Running to Pick Up 'Underground' After Surprise Cancellation https://t.co/qVVLVg3v2A

WGN Officially Cancels 'Underground' - Will It Find a New Home? Maybe at OWN? https://t.co/sKDix1ZiL7

But this week, at a Queen Sugar event, Winfrey addressed the rumors, and delivered the cold, hard truth about why she can't save it.

Full text of Oprah’s answer about not picking up #UndergroundWGN:

The Undefeated's culture critic Soraya McDonald tweeted Winfrey's quote from the event: "I can't afford Underground. It costs twice as much to make. As a matter of fact, my dear friend John Legend called me, but we'd already been talking for weeks about could we make it work, could we make it work. It's like, $5 million an episode — can't afford it. It's not cheap. And I think it's because it's a period piece. And also, it doesn't have— I think the highest number I saw was like a 0.4 or something. It has the social media following, but it doesn't have the numbers that can justify it as a business, for me, at this stage in my business, to spend $5 million an episode."

TL;DR

Twitter: Own should pick up underground! Oprah: y'all got Underground money?

A rep for Legend didn't immediately reply to BuzzFeed News' request for an update about Underground's future, while Sony had no comment when reached.

Marcus Jones is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Marcus Jones at marcus.jones@buzzfeed.com.

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