WGN America‘s first original scripted series Salem debuted to a solid 1.5 million total viewers and 647,000 Adults 18-49 at 10 PM ET last night. That represents a +635% increase over the network’s Adults 18-49 season-to-date average in the slot and WGN America’s highest-rated telecast in more than seven years, since 2007. We should note that WGN America covers only 62.3% of the U.S. (72 million homes) and is a rare single-feed cable network, meaning that the Salem 10 PM premiere aired at 7 PM on the West Coast. For comparison, the 2007 premiere of AMC’s first original scripted series, Mad Men, drew 510,000 Adults 18-49 and 1.6 total viewers in 92 million homes. For the night, the Salem debut drew a total of 2.3 total viewers and 886,000 adults 18-49 over four airings, including encores at 11 PM ET/8 PM PT, 1 AM ET/10 PM PT and 2 AM ET/11 PM PT. “These numbers far exceeded our expectations,” said Matt Cherniss, WGN America President and General Manager. Originally developed at FX, Salem, about the Salem witch trials, is the first series as part of WGN’s push to become a top tier general entertainment network. It will be followed by period drama Manhattan, premiering in July 2014, and event series Ten Commandments, debuting in 2015.
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