Salem Television Show WGN

WGN America, which is aggressively expanding into original programming in a bid to become a top-tier entertainment network, has reason to be pleased with the premiere-night tune-in for its first original series, “Salem.”

The debut of “Salem” on Sunday night averaged 1.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen, including roughly 650,000 adults 18-49 — about seven times the network’s season-to-date average in the 10 p.m. timeslot.

During four combined airings on Sunday, “Salem” drew 2.3 million viewers, including 886,000 adults 18-49.

WGN America is handicapped some by being in just 72 million homes at present, representing 62.3% of the country. It also has only a single feed, meaning the West Coast premiere airs at 7.

“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 was co-created and written by 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 cable production division of Twentieth Century Fox Television.

WGN America’s next scripted series, “Manhattan,” premieres in July, and the event series “Ten Commandments” is set for next year.

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