Behind The Scenes Of Tribune’s New TV Series “Salem”

(Shreveport, LA) There’s a lot of buzz about a new TV show called “Salem,” and chances are you’ve possibly wondered what it’s all about.

“Salem” is a new original drama airing on WGN America, which is owned by Tribune, WREG-TV’s parent company.

We wanted to give you a sneak peek at the magic the show creates.

It’s a bold new vision of witches and a bolder new vision of a town fueled by its infamous witch trials.

“Salem” is set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts.

Emmy nominated director Brannon Braga, known for TV series such as “24” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” is the co-creator, executive producer and writer.

“It’s a genre show, but horror. It has many themes,” Braga said.

Welcome to Salem 1692, but this isn’t the same one that many have read or heard about.

In this new series, the witches are real, and they’re also hiding behind the veil of a dark, supernatural truth, especially Mary Sibley.

Janet Montgomery plays Salem’s ruthless first lady.

“You see her at the beginning and how withdrawn she is and he (John Alden) goes away and the choices she makes turning her back on the world and trying to survive,” Montgomery said.

Sibley’s survival becomes even more challenging as she is reunited and deals with an epic romance with John Alden, America’s first hero, played by Shane West.

“He expects to come home even though it’s been that long and even though he’s a prisoner of war and many hardships, he expects he can start over again with Mary and it’s not going to be so easy,” West said.

It’s not easy because Mary Sibley is hiding a secret that will impact the lives of others in Salem.

“She (Mary Sibley) made a deal with the devil to have a place in the world and power in a world where women are powerless and take revenge on the people who destroyed her life,” Braga said.

Salem is shot in Shreveport, Louisiana and it’s based largely on the historical events of the past, and includes many real characters.

The series also stars Ashley Madekwe who plays Salem’s most powerful witch, Tituba, and Elise Eberle plays the mysteriously afflicted Mercy Lewis.

“Tituba is there to push Mary and within the hive of witches. Tituba is Mary’s keeper and she’s charged with keeping Mary on track and making sure the Grand Rite happens,” Madekwe said.

“There is this power that she (Mercy Lewis) has and she realize that she has over the town. She’s first this young and innocent pure girl who becomes afflicted mysteriously and it causes complete hysteria,” Eberle said.

Xander Berkeley plays Magistrate Hale, Salem’s chief politician.

“He’s now very worried because everything is about to hit the fan and what was a safe world balanced between two worlds is coming very precarious because Cotton(Mather) is preaching fire and brimstone and hanging witches,” Berkeley said.

Seth Gabel leads the witch hunt as Cotton Mather.

“He’s doing the family business because that’s what he’s supposed to do. But it’s not who he is. So that conflict within himself causes him to act out with drinking and women,” Gabel said.

Tamzin Merchant plays the talented young artist, Anne Hale, and Iddo Goldberg is branded outcast Isaac.

“He (Isaac) believes if he can save Salem, he’ll be able to rid the shame that he carries with him,” Goldberg said.

“In this show we see women being powerful and empowered and even it’s by their dark arts or sexuality, I think it’s brilliant. We see women controlling what is happening,” Merchant said.

It’s a bold new vision with a different twist, which the shows creators hope will leave viewers spellbound.

By the way, WREG-TV will be  airing “The Real Witchcraft of Salem” 30-minute special on April 19 at 2:07 a.m.

The TV series “Salem” debuts Sunday, April 20, on WGN-America.


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