WGN America Acquires Rights to Drama ‘Bellevue’ in First Big Move Since ‘Underground’ Cancellation

The network had no original scripted series after canceling the Civil war-era drama in May

Bellevue Anna Paquin
WGN America

WGN America announced Monday that it has acquired the U.S. rights to “Bellevue,” a drama series about murder and disappearances starring Anna Paquin.

“Bellevue” is not an original series to the network, but it’ll be the first series to air exclusively on WGN in America after the cancellations of “Underground,” “Outsiders” and other scripted programming.

The eight-episode one-hour drama follows Detective Annie Ryder (Paquin), as she investigates the mystery of a missing transgender high school hockey star and its possible connection to the murder of a young woman 20 years earlier, all the while trying to keep her own life from falling apart.

The series also stars Shawn Doyle (“House of Cards”) as Annie’s boss, Police Chief Peter Welland and Allen Leech (“Downton Abbey”) as Eddie, who’s been in an on-again off-again relationship with Annie.

“Bellevue” aired on CBS Television back in February of this year. It only aired for eight episodes, but not before garnering some positive buzz. John Doyle of The Globe and Mail called it an “atmospheric, well-acted drama” that draws a lot from “Twin Peaks.”

The series is produced by Muse Entertainment and Back Alley Film Productions. Jane Maggs serves as showrunner, while Adrienne Mitchell serves as a producer and director.

The move to pick up the series is an interesting one following WGN America’s canceling of “Outsider” and “Underground” this year, which were the remaining scripted series on the network. The two were axed following a change in programming strategy.

According to the WGN America website, the only scripted shows it is currently airing are reruns of syndicated sitcoms like “Rules of Engagement” and “Raising Hope,” along with dramas “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Law and Order.”

The network is also developing a pilot based on the Vertigo comic “Scalped.”

The change in direction came after Tribune Media, its parent company, was bought by Sinclair Broadcast Group in early May.

“As WGN America evolves and broadens the scope and scale of its portfolio of series, we recently announced that resources will be reallocated to a new strategy to increase our relevance within the rapidly changing television landscape,” said Tribute Media president Peter Kern.