Cast, Crew Anxious About Premiere of “Salem”

(WHNT) – WGN America, our parent company, debuts its first original series this Sunday, April 20.  “Salem” airs at 9 p.m. central.

“Salem” takes a gritty look at the witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts.

In this look, you’ll see the human side of a major television premiere.

It took months of work to created frozen-in-time homes and storefronts on the set, located in Shreveport, Louisiana.  Craftsmen of all kinds brought it to life.

But now, something new hangs in the air, mingling with blacksmith smoke.

“It’s incredible anxiety,” said Brannon Braga, Salem’s Co-Creator.

No matter where you go on set, you still get the sense of a looming gallows.  It’s one of the main scenes on the show.

This witch hunt represents a lifetime achievement for many who work on it.  To create a television show, to raise the spectre of a long-gone American city from the ground, it takes a great deal of heart.

And now, those involved wait for the public to judge it.

“Anxiety comes from what are people going to think. Talking to the press today, the reaction to the pilot has been largely positive, which makes me even more anxious,” said Braga.  “Because I still have episodes to make, and I’m like, I’ve got to make sure it maintains that level.”

“There’s anxiousness in how it’s going to be received, because we have no control over that, but I think we all feel like we’re putting in the best work that we’ve done,” said Seth Gabel, who portrays Cotton Mather. “It feels like the creative team around us is the best that it could be.”

“So much of that is out of your control,” said Janet Montgomery, who portrays Mary Sibley. “And there’s so many great shows that don’t last, and there’s so many terrible shows that run and run. So I guess you sort of have to stay truthful to yourself.”

Even after the polished product wraps, everyone involved always knows there’s more they can do.

“Any good designer will tell you they’re never done. They’re never satisfied,” said Seth Reed, Salem’s Designer. “They will be nudging everybody and making them crazy, still asking for more and more, until they’re finally told to stop right there.”

But at least for the first episode, the only thing left is deciding what to do with the reviews.

“No. I do not read reviews,” said Reed.

“If my Dad sends me something, then I’ll read it,” said Ashley Madekwe, who portrays the character Tituba.

“I don’t read the reviews. I just read people’s comments, which I find much more interesting when you read people’s comments at the end of a review,” said Montgomery.

But for at least a few more days, Salem remains suspended in time.

Salem debuts this Sunday, April 20 at 9 p.m. central on WGN America. The show contains extremely explicit content.

Click here for more information on WGN America.  Click the ‘Channel Finder’ link at the top of the site to type in your zip code and find channel listings for your area.

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