The net announced the renewal on Monday, the day after the third episode of the show’s inaugural aired. Production on season 2 will begin later this year for a 2015 debut.
Through its first two telecasts in Live + 3 viewing, “Salem” has averaged nearly 1.7 million total viewers and 806,000 among Adults 18-49, according to Nielsen — nearly nine times the network’s adults 18-49 season-to-date average on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET. In Live + 7 viewing estimates from Nielsen for its April 20 premiere, “Salem” drew more than 3.4 million total viewers and 1.5 million adults 18-49.
While not huge numbers, they represent a solid scripted start for WGN America, which is available in about 72 million homes nationally. By comparison, ESPN and USA are in about 98 million homes.
“At WGN America, we are committed to delivering compelling, brand-defining programming rich with fascinating characters and ‘Salem’ has done just that,” said Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America and Tribune Studios. “Brannon Braga, Adam Simon, the talented cast and our great partners at Fox 21 have opened up an intriguing world that has captivated viewers. We look forward to bringing more great storytelling, scares and surprises to viewers as the saga unfolds.”
“Salem” is produced by Fox 21 and co-created and written by Braga and Simon, who also serve as executive producers with Jeff Kwatinetz and Josh Barry of Prospect Park and David Von Ancken.
“Salem,” which re-imagines the infamous witch trials in the 17th century Massachusetts town, stars Janet Montgomery, Shane West, Seth Gabel, Xander Berkeley, Ashley Madekwe, Tamzin Merchant, Elise Eberle and Iddo Goldberg.
WGN America is following up its first scripted series with another, “Manhattan,” in July. Also coming up is 10-episode event series “Ten Commandments.”