Following the breakout success of WGN America’s latest drama series Underground and Outsiders, the network has promoted head of scripted programming Jon Wax from SVP to EVP Original Programming at WGN America and Tribune Studios. He will continue to oversee all scripted development for the network and studio, reporting to Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager of WGN America and Tribune Studios.
Wax joined WGN America and Tribune Studios in May 2013, recruited by his former bosses and mentors at Fox, Tribune Media CEO Peter Liguori and Cherniss. He has shepherded WGN America’s foray into original scripted programming with early standout Salem, which was followed by Manhattan and most recently, Underground and Outsiders, which rank as WGNA’s top two series, outperforming the network’s 2015-16 primetime average by 1,115% and 1,016%, respectively, among adults 18-49 in Live+7. (Both dramas are co-produced by Sony and Tribune Studios.)
“From the beginning, Jon has been instrumental in putting WGN America on the map as a home for dynamic scripted shows and is as good a development executive as there is in the business,” Cherniss said. “His eye for talent and willingness to take risks on daring programming has become a signature element of WGN America’s programming slate.”
Before joining WGNA, Wax spent nearly 15 years on the Fox lot, the last four of which he was VP Drama Development at 20th Century Fox Television. Previously, he held positions with the Fox network’s Drama Development group, where he worked on Prison Break and Bones. He began his executive career in Current Programming at Fox, where he covered shows such as 24, Firefly and Malcolm in the Middle.