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WGN America relaunches, will focus on original programming

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WGN America, the national cable network formerly known as a Chicago super-station, has announced today that it will be launching a major rebranding effort that will shift the channel's focus to original programming.

"We're transitioning from a network with regional roots to one with a true national identity, driven by provocative, brand-defining programming of the highest quality," said said network president Matt Cherniss. "With this relaunch and our expanded portfolio of original content, we expect to significantly strengthen our position as a destination for viewers."

ALSO: IFC changes name to IFC

The network's parent company, Tribune Media, is giving WGN America a new logo and a renewed promotional campaign to establish it as a top tier cable network.

To get the ball rolling, the network announced today that it has ordered a pair of scripted dramas: "Salem," to premiere Sunday, April 20, 2014, and "Manhattan," to start production in New Mexico in March for a July 2014 premiere.

"Salem" reexamines the infamous witch trials in 17th century Massachusetts, while "Manhattan" is set in New Mexico and deals with the race to build the world's first atomic bomb.

The network has also ordered a 10-part miniseries based on "Ten Commandments" that will be produced by The Weinstein Company.

"We want our series to transport the audience to worlds that they have never experienced and tell big, operatic stories that entice and entertain," added Cherniss. "We've harnessed some incredible talent to depict these worlds in a way that highlights the universalities in human nature that bind us all."

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