The original drama series "Salem" is "the first step in a strategy by the Tribune Company, owner of WGN America, to transform the superstation into a full-fledged cable network, creating yet another competitor in the increasingly crowded field of purveyors of distinctive television drama," reports our good friend Bill Carter in The New York Times.
Carter reports: "Next up [on WGN], in July, is 'Manhattan,' a drama about the secret work to develop the atom bomb." (In real life the secret plan to develop the atomic bomb was called "The Manhattan Project.")
Carter spoke to Matt Cherniss, president of WGNA, who said, "If all goes well WGNA will, over the next 18 months or so, gradually work its way from superstation to cable network, bringing with it a substantial boost in profits for Tribune, through higher ad rates and license fees from cable operators."
The story adds: "Such is the plan, led by Peter Liguori, the chief executive of the Tribune Company, who knows something about starting cable channels. He led the FX network in its early days as it was emerging as a reliable home for original programming.
“ 'WGNA is a big part of our overall strategy,' Mr. Liguori said. 'Here was a channel with 70 to 80 million Nielsen homes with virtually no programming, in a universe where distribution is beachfront property.' The situation was 'fraught with opportunity,' he said."
To read more of Carter's analysis of WGN's plans to become a cable network, we urge yuou to click on our link above, which will take you to the original article.