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WGN breaks into original programming with dramas about the Manhattan Project and Salem witch trials

WGN—the Chicago TV station which became a cable mainstay by providing America with a steady supply of Cubs games and only the finest in sitcom reruns—is dipping its toes into original programming. The channel's latest pickup is Manhattan, from Masters Of Sex writer Sam Shaw, a 1940s period drama about the scientists working in Los Alamos, NM on the invention of the atomic bomb. Former West Wing director Thomas Schalmme will direct the show's 13-episode first season, so expect a lot of walk-and-talks between Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves.

Manhattan joins the network's first original show, Salem, which was announced back in June. That drama from Star Trek and 24 writer/producer Brannon Braga examines the town's infamous witch trials through a not-entirely-realistic lens. WGN's president calls the show "a great adventure full of supernatural romance and action"—which basically means the witches are actual witches, not just unfortunate girls who were tormented and then burned to death for speaking out of turn, or having even the dimmest awareness of human sexuality, or whatever else it was that set the Puritans off. Salem will also air a 13-episode season. Both shows will debut next fall, sandwiched in between some sitcom reruns and probably a Cubs game.

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