WGN America Ups Jon Wax7 Jun, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Executive has driven cable network’s foray into original scripted programming
WGN America, the cable network owned by Chicago-based Tribune Media Company, June 7 announced the promotion of Jon Wax to EVP of original programming at Tribune Studios.
WGN has aggressively sought original scripted programming as a means of competing against subscription streaming and third-party over-the-top video services.
The network cut its teeth in 2014 with supernatural thriller “Salem,” produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Lionsgate’s Emmy-winning “Manhattan,” about the clandestine mission to build the world's first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Those series were followed up this year with Sony Pictures Television’s slavery-themed series “Underground” and, separately, Appalachian-based “Outsiders.”
Both series rank among Nielsen’s top-20 scripted cable series, reportedly outdrawing viewers of HBO’s highly publicized “Vinyl,” FX comedy “Baskets” and A&E’s just-canceled horror series “Damien.”
“From the beginning, Jon has been instrumental in putting WGN America on the map as a home for dynamic scripted shows and is as good a development executive as there is in the business,” said Matt Cherniss, president and GM of WGN America and Tribune Studios — to whom Wax reports. “His eye for talent and willingness to take risks on daring programming has become a signature element of WGN America’s programming slate.”