Sunday, January 12, 2014

WGN America Announces Premiere Date for 'Salem'

During WGN America's first-ever presentation to the members of Television Critics Association, Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios, announced a premiere date for the network first scripted drama series Salem - as well as tentative scheduling plans for its second, Manhattan.

"We're transitioning from a network with regional roots to one with a true national identity, driven by provocative, brand-defining programming of the highest quality," said Cherniss. "With this relaunch and our expanded portfolio of original content, we expect to significantly strengthen our position as a destination for viewers."

WGN America will premiere its first scripted series Salem - which the network ordered straight-to-series with a 13-episode order - on Sunday, April 20.

Salem, which reexamines the infamous witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts, is now in production in Louisiana. The drama will explore how suspicion and fear gripped Salem and its residents and reveals the truth that in Salem, the witches were real, but not who they seemed to be.

Salem is created, executive produced and written by Brannon Braga and Adam Simon. The drama stars Janet Montgomery (Human Target), Shane West (Nikita), Seth Gabel (Fringe), Ashley Madekwe (Revenge), Xander Berkeley (The Mentalist), Tamzin Merchant (Jane Eyre) and Elise Eberle (The Astronaut Farmer).

WGN America's Manhattan - which was also ordered straight-to-series and is actively casting right now - is set to begin production in New Mexico in March for a July 2014 premiere date.

Set in Los Alamos, New Mexico at the Manhattan Project during the race to build the world's first atomic bomb, Manhattan explores the cost of secrets and the corrosive effect they have on individuals, families and their relationships.

Manhattan is written and created by Sam Shaw who serves as executive producer with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross. Thomas Schlamme (The West Wing) will direct the premiere episode.

Cherniss concludes with, "We want our series to transport the audience to worlds that they have never experienced and tell big, operatic stories that entice and entertain. We've harnessed some incredible talent to depict these worlds in a way that highlights the universalities in human nature that bind us all."