'Salem' debut brews potent ratings

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Witches! Yeah, they’re still in: WGN America’s Salem had a rather surprisingly potent premiere. Salem delivered 1.5 million for its first airing, a tally that grew to 2.3 million with repeat airings.

As always, ratings are all about context and expectations. In this case, Salem is the first original series ever produced by a cable network that many viewers have never even heard of and only covers 62 percent of the country. The first airing was up 635 percent from WGN’s Sunday night time-period average. When you have HBO’s Silicon Valley doing about the same number of viewers with a lead-in from Game of Thrones, you look at this result as pretty good.

“These numbers far exceeded our expectations, especially given that we are currently only in 72 million homes,” said Matt Cherniss, President and General Manager, WGN America. “We look forward to seeing these numbers grow over the next few days with time shifting. Salem will be followed by the network’s second original drama, Manhattan, which premieres in July, and the miniseries Ten Commandments, debuting in 2015.

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