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‘Under the Dome’ Opens Impressively for CBS

Drama based on Stephen King book logs big 3.2 demo rating, draws 13 million viewers overall

Under the Dome,” the biggest summer scripted play by CBS in years, opened very well on Monday, logging the best opening-night demo score for any drama since NBC’s “Revolution” last September.

Despite facing competition for male viewers from hockey’s Stanley Cup Finals on NBC, the drama averaged a big 3.2 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 and 13.2 million viewers overall in the 10 o’clock hour, finishing a close second to hockey in 18-49 and nearly tripling its first-run drama competition from ABC’s “Mistresses” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 3.7 million viewers overall).

It’s been a weak summer for scripted newcomers, with the top 18-49 averages for series premieres since Memorial Day coming from ABC’s “Motive” (1.3) and “Mistresses” (1.2) and USA’s “Graceland” (0.8), so that makes the big numbers for “Under the Dome” all the more impressive.

“Dome,” in which a giant invisible dome suddenly appears around the small town of Chester’s Mill, is produced by Neal Baer and Brian K. Vaughan (who adapted Stephen King’s book). It stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Britt Robertson and Natalie Martinez.

Since “Charlie Lawrence” and “Cupid” crashed and burned in 2003, CBS had tried only three scripted series during the summer months prior to this year — animated comedy “Creature Comforts” in 2007 and the 70s-set drama “Swingtown” and the Canadian import “Flashpoint” (which ended up airing over four summers for the net) both in 2008.

But needing to create some excitement in summer after seeing ratings for repeats of its scripted series decline over the years, the Eye ordered “Under the Dome” as well as a second season of once-canceled crime drama “Unforgettable.”

“Dome,” which was shot on location in Wilmington, N.C., comes from Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios. It had an estimated budget of $3 million per episode, which was offset in large part by very strong international sales.

Elsewhere Monday, ABC’s “The Bachelorette” (1.9/6 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) grew from last week when it opposed NBC’s top-rated music contest “The Voice.”

Reliable numbers weren’t available for the sixth and ultimately final game of the Stanley Cup Finals, but NBC’s stations averaged a 3.1/9 in 18-49 and 7.2 million viewers overall from 8 to 11 for the game, in which the Chicago Blackhawks prevailed to take the best-of-seven series.

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