Summertime belongs to CBS once again, and it’s all thanks to Stephen King.
The author’s new series “Under the Dome” has reversed the course of other summer fare so far, pulling in 13.2 million viewers in its debut on Monday. That’s despite competition from not only playoff hockey in the NHL, but also ABC’s summer outing, “Mistresses,” which had just a fraction of the viewers of “Under the Dome.”
Based on the 2009 novel from King, “Under the Dome” takes place in the small town of Chester’s Mill that is suddenly isolated from the rest of the world because of a huge dome that encases it. The series was developed by Brian K. Vaughan, a celebrated comic book writer who also was one of the key creative people working on ABC’s “Lost.”
Vaughan has assembled an all-star producer team, which includes such names as popular “Lost” director Jack Bender as well as famed film director Steven Spielberg.
The series stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Britt Robertson and Natalie Martinez.
It had been a long time since CBS had really tried a scripted series over the summer. A decade ago, forgettable shows like “Charlie Lawrence” and “Cupid” were put on the air and failed. It’s only real success since then has been “Flashpoint,” which ran four summer seasons on the network, but was actually imported from Canada.
“Under the Dome” is being joined this summer by “Unforgettable,” one of last year’s top-rated new shows that didn’t quite make the CBS cut for a second season. However, the fan outpouring was intense, and CBS decided to give the show another go for the summer.
CBS needed “Under the Dome” to be a success. Variety reports that each episode cost $3 million. However, the show is already gaining popularity with television networks overseas, so even if it had not done well in the United States, it wouldn’t have been a tragic loss for the network.