WGN’s first scripted series “Salem” debuts big for network

Editor’s note: WGN is one of the weird cable networks that only transmits shows once, so Salem, which airs at 10 p.m. eastern time, aired at 7 p.m. on the west coast. That makes this whole release that much more meaningful. While the show itself only has so-so reviews, it seems like a lot tuned in – WGN only airs in 62.3% of the U.S. (~72 million homes), compared to, say TBS which is in about 86.89% (~99 million homes) or USA, which stands at 86.38% (~98.6 million homes).

via press release:





Increases +635% Over Network’s Sunday 10 p.m. Adults 18-49 Average

Network’s Best Performance in More Than 7 Years


Los Angeles (April 21, 2014) — The series debut of “Salem,” WGN America’s first original scripted series burst out of the gate,  bewitching audiences on television’s highly competitive Sunday night, skyrocketing to an impressive 2.3 million Total Viewers and 886,000 Adults 18-49, during four combined airings on the network.  The premiere telecast at 10 p.m. ET, delivered a superb 1.5 million Total Viewers and 647,000 Adults 18-49, a +635% increase over the network’s Adults 18-49 season-to-date average on Sundays at 10 p.m.  Additionally, it ranked as WGN America’s best telecast performance in more than seven years, since 2007.

“We are thrilled with the audience turnout and reaction to ‘Salem,’” said Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios.  “These numbers far exceeded our expectations, especially given that we are currently only in 72 million homes.  We look forward to seeing these numbers grow over the next few days with time shifting.  Our thanks to Brannon, Adam, the cast, Fox 21 and Prospect Park for taking the leap as WGN’s first original series and delivering great content.”

WGN America covers 62.3% of the U.S. and is available in 72 million homes, and has only a single feed, making for an early West Coast premiere at 7 p.m. PT.  On a coverage area basis, for its initial airing at 10 p.m. ET, “Salem” averaged a .83 rating among Adults 18-49.  “Salem” premiered on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, followed by encores at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT, 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT and 2 a.m. ET/11 p.m. PT.

“Salem” marks WGN America’s aggressive expansion into original programming to become a top tier general entertainment network, driven by high-quality, distinctive series.  “Salem” will be followed by the network’s second original scripted drama “Manhattan” premiering in July 2014, and the event series “Ten Commandments” debuting in 2015.

“Salem,” which re-imagines the Infamous witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts, stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Ashley Madekwe, Xander Berkeley, Tamzin Merchant, Elise Eberle, and Iddo Goldberg.  The series is co-created and written by award-wining Brannon Braga and Adam Simon who serve as executive producers alongside Prospect Park’s Josh Barry and Jeff Kwatinetz, as well as David Von Ancken.  “Salem” hails from Fox 21, the prolific cable production division of Twentieth Century Fox Television.

[Source: Nielsen Media Research, Live + Same Day.]

1 reply »

  1. I was very impressed with WGN’s “Salem” ratings on Sunday night. As you have stated WGN is definitely a “weird” cable network and only broadcasts its series once. I think this is the reason for the outstanding ratings because viewers will probably never be able to watch the show again unless they tape it. WGN isn’t a very popular cable network, but if it keeps putting out series such as “Salem” they will definitely have a foreseeable future. However the series is casting on a very competitive Sunday night, but now that shows such as the “Walking Dead,” “American Horror Story,” and “Breaking Bad” are over, the show actually picked a good night to air. I think the series will have a solid turnout for years to come on WGN.

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