Gary Dourdan Books Roles In ‘Being Mary Jane’ & ‘Glee’; Sammi Hanratty Set To Recur on ‘Salem’

By | Wednesday April 16, 2014 @ 9:14pm PDT

Gary DourdanGary Dourdan has been cast in a recurring role on BET’s Being Mary Jane and a guest starring gig on Fox’s Glee. On the BET comedy, he’ll play Sheldon Armstrong, a smoothly charming and casually handsome retired civil … Read More »

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Hot TV Trailer: WGN America’s ‘Salem’

By | Tuesday April 15, 2014 @ 5:10pm PDT

“Precious Salem — caught up in the stinking witch panic.” Indeed. Here’s the loud and violent two-minute trailer for WGN America‘s first scripted series. The producers took some flak over the fuzzy math in its reinterpretation of the actual events of 1692, but what Salem imagines is … Read More »

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First Look At Key Art For WGN America’s Debut Scripted Series ‘Salem’

By | Tuesday March 11, 2014 @ 6:34pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: We’ve already seen the trailer for WGN America‘s first scripted series, now here’s a first look at some of the key art. Set in 17th century Massachusetts, Salem revolves around the infamous witch trials — only this time the witches are real. The drama from Brannon Braga and Adam Simon stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Ashley Madekwe and Xander Berkeley. It bows April 20.

Salem_TREE(1)

Related: TCA: WGN’S ‘Salem’ Creators Defend Witch Trials Re-Write

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Hot TV Trailer: WGN America’s ‘Salem’

By | Thursday January 23, 2014 @ 11:00am PST

The gang behind WGN America‘s first original scripted series Salem took some flak from critics during the TCA press tour last week for taking liberties with the Salem Witch Trials — an ugly period of social injustice in this country. In creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon’s … Read More »

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TCA: WGN’S ‘Salem’ Creators Defend Witch Trials Re-Write

By | Sunday January 12, 2014 @ 12:59pm PST

WGA's SalemWGN America‘s first original scripted drama, Salem, is set in the world of 17th century Massachusetts. Only, in the TV version of the actual events, the witches are real and it’s “an even bolder new version of witches,” WGN promises.  Yes, Tribune-owned WGN is turning one of this country’s most shameful periods of injustice,  mass hysteria and persecution into a sexy, dark exploration of Satanism.

“Our take on the trials is that the witches were real, and running the trials,” creator Brannon Braga, who’s EP-ing the series, told TV critics at Winter TV Press Tour 2013. Some of whom did not take it well, and suggested WGN was doing an offensive re-writing of history.  The witches, Braga explained, are are in league with their persecutors “and there’s a reason they’re doing it.”

Fellow EP Adam Simon insisted that in the 17th century everyone believed in witches. And the two men insisted  the series in no way belittles the “terrible social issues” of that episode in our country’s , “In fact, quite the contrary,” they said. It’s  a retelling, an alternate history –  but, Not Exploitation. Read More »

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Year-End: Will Broadcast Pilot Season Paradigm Finally Be Broken & Other TV Industry Questions For 2014

By | Thursday January 2, 2014 @ 3:44pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Pilot-Season-300x147Broadcast executives for years have been preaching about switching to a year-round development cycle or adopting the cable model of producing fewer pilots with higher pilot-to-series ratio. They have been ordering occasional off-cycle pilots and have jumped on scripts with pilot orders in November and December but are yet to break the traditional pilot season paradigm. This coming year, they may be forced to. In 2013, we had what was probably the first true continuous pilot season, with existing and new cable and digital players constantly handing out pilot and straight-YearEnd2013_badge__131227212819__131230220451to-series orders. Add to that the new push into limited/event series arena, and there were at least a dozen projects casting at any time of the year. That has kept casting directors and TV talent agents busy and has further depleted the acting talent pool. Every year, there are a handful of pilots that are left unproduced because of difficulty casting. There is quiet panic in the air these days that this coming pilot season we will see a lot more of that. It is the logical next step after the proliferation of scripted programming across different platforms caused a shortage of writers, especially on the drama side, pushing the number of drama buys this development season way down.

nikita-weststanfordA cancelled series used to mean a cast available for the following broadcast pilot season. When ABC in January 2010 announced that Ugly Betty was going to end that spring, it created a feeding frenzy for the stars of the show that pilot season. Now actors from cancelled shows are snatched long before the following broadcast pilot season rolls along. For instance, the CW said in May that drama Nikita was calling it a day with a final six-episode installment. Its male leads, Shane West and Aaron Stanford are already spoken for with big roles in cable projects — West is the male lead on WGN America’s first scripted series, drama Salem, Stanford is the lead of Syfy’s pilot 12 Monkeys, based on Terry Gilliam’s movie, with his Nikita co-star Noah Bean also cast in the pilot. Read More »

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TV TEASER: WGN America Series ‘Salem’

By | Thursday December 19, 2013 @ 10:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

WGN America has released the first teaser for its first original scripted series, drama Salem, which will premiere next year. Set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts, it explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and centers on Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), the beautiful, … Read More »

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WGNA’s ‘Salem’ Adds Elise Eberle, MTV’s ‘Awkward’ Ups Greer Grammer To Regular

By | Wednesday November 6, 2013 @ 7:06am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Elise Eberle (Tiger Eyes) has been cast as a regular in WGN America’s drama series Salem. Set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts, it explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and … Read More »

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Shane West Set As Male Lead Of WGN America’s ‘Salem’, Tamzin Merchant Cast

By | Friday November 1, 2013 @ 10:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

With Nikita coming to an end, series leading man Shane West is set as the male lead of another drama, WGN America’s first scripted series Salem, starring Janet Montgomery. Set in the volatile world … Read More »

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Janet Montgomery To Topline WGN America Drama Series ‘Salem’

By | Monday October 28, 2013 @ 12:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Janet Montgomery has been tapped as the lead in Salem, WGN America’s first scripted series, from Brannon Braga, Adam Simon, director Richard Shepard, Fox21 and Prospect Park. Set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts, … Read More »

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Seth Gabel Cast In WGN America’s ‘Salem’

By | Monday October 14, 2013 @ 8:07am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Fringe alumnus Seth Gabel is set for a lead role in Salem, WGN America’s first scripted series, from Brannon Braga, Adam Simon, director Richard Shepard and Fox21. Set in the volatile world of … Read More »

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Beau Garrett Joins Bravo Pilot ‘Girlfriend’s Guide’, Ashley Madekwe In WGN’s ‘Salem’, Jennie Garth Closed For ‘Mystery Girls’

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 12:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Beau Garrett (Tron) is set to co-star in Girlfriends’ Guide To Divorce, Bravo’s scripted pilot from Marti Noxon and UCP. Based on the book series by Vicki Iovine, it follows Abby (Lisa Edelsein), the famous author of a best-selling self-help book series who is hiding the fact that she’s separated from her husband as she starts to navigate her life as a single woman in her early 40s in Los Angeles. She finds herself seeking advice from her divorced friends, including Phoebe (Garrett), instead of her married ones. Phoebe is a former model and recent divorcee that is still close to her ex. Garrett is with Paradigm, KLWGN Entertainment and Jason Hendler. Read More »

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Liz Sarnoff & Tricia Small Launch Company, Sign Overall Deal With Fox 21, Join ‘Salem’

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 1:32pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Writer-producer Liz Sarnoff (Lost) has teamed with film producer Tricia Small to form Sarnoff Small Screens, a production company which will be set … Read More »

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Richard Shepard To Direct & Executive Produce WGN America Drama Series ‘Salem’

By | Tuesday August 13, 2013 @ 11:00am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Richard Shepard has boarded WGN America‘s first scripted series, drama Salem, as director and executive producer. Shepard will serve as director and executive producer on the project, part of his deal with 20th Century Fox … Read More »

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WGN America Greenlights Its First Original Scripted Series, Brannon Braga’s ‘Salem’

By | Tuesday June 4, 2013 @ 12:43pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Tribune’s WGN America is officially an original scripted programming player. Two months after Matt Cherniss was named president and general manager of WGN and indicated he would be looking for a scripted series to define WGN, the superstation has greenlighted its first original scripted series, drama Salem. The project, from Star Trek and 24 alum Brannon Braga, Adam Simon (The Haunting In Connecticut) and Fox21, has received a straight-to-series 13-episode order and is slated to begin production in the fall for a 2014 premiere.

Salem, originally developed for FX, is set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts and explores what really fueled the town’s infamous witch trials and dares to uncover the dark, supernatural truth hiding behind the veil of this infamous period in American history. The show, which centers on an epic romance, is said to deliver a new vision of witches who are real though they are not who or what they seem. Braga and Simon created the series and will serve as executive producers alongside Prospect Park’s Josh Barry and Jeff Kwatinetz. “Brannon and Adam have an amazing vision for the world and characters that comprise Salem, Massachusetts during the witch trials and we believe that a great adventure full of supernatural, romance, and action awaits the viewer,” Cherniss said. Read More »

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