At this point a week ago, WGN America was completely off the map as a potential broadcasting home for Absentia. After all, the recent acquisition of the network by Sinclair led to a complete gutting of their original programming. Shows like Underground and Outsiders were formally canceled, and it seemed as though the network was pivoting hard away from the idea of its own programming in favor of more cost-effective syndicated shows. (The only time we even briefly considered the network was when the show was in its infancy, prior to Sinclair getting involved.)
Could the network suddenly be a possibility once more? We do consider it very much so, thanks to their decision earlier today to pick up the CBC drama Bellevue, starring Anna Paquin of True Blood fame. This gives us a further sense of their programming strategy, and that is to acquire international productions that are more cost-effective that it can place on the air and promote. Absentia has a significant amount in common with Bellevue in that it was filmed elsewhere and can be licensed and brought over for far less money than it would cost WGN America to produce and air something that was created for them in America. It’s got a popular star in Stana Katic, and the mystery at the heart of the show could help the network get back some of the social-media buzz that it lost in canceling Underground earlier this year.
We know that Absentia does officially have a network home; could this be it? It’s possible in theory, but given that WGN America had a great chance to announce it earlier today, if they so wanted to. We still consider this a longshot to some other contenders, and in some ways, Absentia airing there would face challenges given that it’s not a network with the same sort of awareness as a TNT or a USA. Nonetheless, a network home is far better than no network home, and the folks behind the scenes would be eager to support it as an anchor to a new programming strategy. Having the right people promoting a show is almost more important than anything.
What we are trying to say here is fundamentally this: Keep WGN America on your mind as we await more news and announcements when it comes to Absentia. Once there is more to highlight, we’ll have it for you here!
For now, check out the logline and preview for Bellevue, just in case you are interested in checking that one out. We’ve heard for things and it has a great cast!
“Bellevue is a small town with big secrets. Twenty years ago, the murder of a young woman traumatized the community. Now the killer is back. Or is he? When a high school hockey star wrestling with his gender identity goes missing and all signs point to foul play, Detective Annie Ryder (Canada-born Anna Paquin) must unravel all the pieces to this mystery before her own life falls apart. Along the way, Annie must navigate a complicated relationship with her on-again/off again ex, Eddie (Irish actor Allen Leech) and her boss on the force, Police Chief Peter Welland (Canadian actor Shawn Doyle).”