Exclusive Behind-The-Scenes Look At WGN’s “SALEM”

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KFSM and KXNW-TV were recently bought by the Tribune company, making 5NEWS part of a larger television family. On Sunday, April 20th, WGN America will debut an original series called “Salem.” Set in 17th century Massachusetts, “Salem” delivers a bold new vision of witches, and it`s based on actual events surrounding the Salem witch trials that began in 1692.

“The Puritans really believed that there were witches. Most people living in this time believed that, and most everyone, with the exception of a few, believed in God, the devil, and that there was evil in the world," co-creator Brannon Braga said.

It`s good versus evil with some very colorful characters on both ends of the spectrum, but it`s so much more than just witches and witch hunters.

“You have a strait up love story. Guy wants girl, can't get girl. Girl wants guy, can't get guy. And there's larger forces at play that push them apart,” director David Von Ancken said.

Janet Montgomery stars as “Mary Sibley,” a vulnerable but powerful sorceress. Opposite her, Shane West plays the role of “John Alden” who returns from war to find Salem in a state of chaos.

“John Alden really came from a prominent family and was one of the founding fathers of Salem. He was a war hero who fought against the French and Indians. Was he in love with a Puritan who's really a witch? No, it's what we call an alternate history,” Braga said.

“All the magic is rooted in the stories and tellings of real witches, the way that history has told them. So there's nothing that we make up in that regard. We take license with certain technologies that show up a little earlier here than they would have, but we try to keep it based in reality.

“Salem” premieres on WGN America Sunday, April 20th at 9 P.M.