A new hit for CBS — if it can be called a hit after just one airing — could spawn a strategic shift for the broadcast networks. Writing in The New York Times, Bill Carter says the early success of "Under the Dome" means broadcasters could be looking at fighting back against the summer domination of the cable networks.
CBS took a cue from cable by launching a high-profile drama series during the summer months, typically the realm of repeats and reality shows on broadcast. "Under the Dome" drew more than 13.5 million viewers for its premiere last Monday, making it the biggest audience for a summer drama in more than 20 years. During the subsequent three days, an additional 3 million viewers watched the show.
The ratings illustrate the potential “to create a whole new model for summer programming,” David F. Poltrack, the network’s chief research executive, told The Times.
Already, other broadcasters are readying summer dramas, including ABC’s "Resurrection," which is about a town visited by long-dead relatives, and Fox’s plan for some "event series" such as a revival of the hit "24."
“The networks have to stop losing viewers,” Brad Adgate, the senior vice president for research at Horizon Media, noted. “After the season they just had they can’t afford to lose any more.”