Matt Cherniss Building Provocative New Worlds for Wgn America

Matt Cherniss is turning to the past to define Wgn America’s brand identity for the future.

The cabler’s president and general manager has moved quickly in his quest to redefine the Tribune Broadcasting flagship as an outlet for provocative original series. He’s greenlighted two straight-to-series productions, both period pieces, since he was hired in April by Tribune CEO Peter Liguori, his former boss at FX and Fox. “Salem,” about the witch trials of the 1600s, debuts in the spring, and “Manhattan,” a soap set in New Mexico’s Los Alamos lab — the one that developed the atomic bomb in the 1940s — is slated to bow in the summer.

Both are weighty, ambitious projects with one shared goal: Establish Wgn America as the next FX or AMC, with original shows that can attract a loyal fanbase, generate strong word-of-mouth and ratings for a channel now known for airing
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