12:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Janet Montgomery to Star in WGN America's 'Salem'
WGN American has found the lead for its first original scripted drama, Salem.
Made in Jersey alum Janet Montgomery has been tapped to star as Mary Shibley in Salem, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The 13-episode drama is set in the volatile world of 17th century Massachusetts and explores what really fueled the town's infamous witch trials. The series will look to uncover the dark, supernatural truth hiding behind the veil of this ignominious period in American history. The witches featured are real, but they are not who or what they seem. The series, centered on an epic romance wrapped around an explosive revelation, delivers a bold new vision of Salem -- and an even bolder new vision of witches.
Mary is described as beautiful, radiating confidence and power with a hidden sexuality. She's ruthless and vulnerable at the same time and the wife of the ancient, ailing but wealthy George Sibley, who is one of the Salem town Selectmen. She's formerly the girlfriend of the young John Alden, who left to go to war 10 years ago.
Additionally, Xander Berkeley (Nikita, The Mentalist) has joined the cast in a series regular role as Magistrate Hale, who is described as one of the Selectmen of Salem. The politician is a company man who believes in pomp and circumstance.
Brannon Braga (24, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Terra Nova) created and penned the series alongside Adam Simon (The Haunting in Connecticut). The drama hails from Fox 21 (Homeland, Sons of Anarchy). Braga and Simon executive produce alongside Prospect Park's Josh Barry and Jeff Kwatinetz. Richard Shepard will direct the pilot.
Salem will premiere on WGN America in spring 2014.
Mongtomery is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content and Morris Yorn. Her credits include features Our Idiot Brother and Black Swan. Most recently, she filmed the ABC pilot Gothica, where she portrayed Grace Van Helsing in the high-concept monster drama. Berkeley is repped by Affirmative Entertainment and Stone Meyer.
Montgomery and Berkeley join a cast that also includes Fringe alum Seth Gabel.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that Berkeley will not recur but instead be a series regular.