WGN America is canceling “Salem,” the first original scripted series it launched as part of its rebranding.
The series, set in a fictional version of the 17th century Massachusetts town infamous for its witch trials, launched in 2014 (the twist was that the witches were real). It debuted to solid ratings, drawing 1.5 million viewers for its series premiere and averaged a little under 700,000 people in live + same-day ratings for its first season.
Subsequent seasons have fallen off a good amount. The current season, which launched in early November, is averaging just 261,000 viewers and a 0.1 rating in adults 18-49. Creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon say they were aware of the show coming to an end, so they were able to craft a suitable series finale.
“We knew this would be the third and final season and were able to craft an exciting climax to Mary’s [Janet Montgomery] transformational saga,” Braga and Simon say in a statement.
(WGN America’s parent company, Tribune Media, also owns TV by the Numbers.)
WGN America’s other original series, “Outsiders” and “Underground,” outperformed “Salem” by a good margin last year. Both averaged a same-day 0.3 in adults 18-49; “Outsiders” drew 822,000 viewers per episode and “Underground” just under 1 million. The two also regularly doubled their audiences with a week of DVR and on-demand catchup.
“‘Salem’ is a fantastic show that greatly contributed to our successful launch into original programming,” WGN America president and general manager Matt Cherniss says. “We thank Brannon, Adam, our talented cast and our partners at Fox 21, for entrusting us with their unique and remarkable vision for the world of ‘Salem.’ We also thank the fans for their loyal support of the show.”
The series finale of “Salem” will air shortly after the new year. It joins these shows that have been canceled in 2016-17.