CBS Chief Says ‘Under The Dome’ Changes The Rules For Summer TV Programming

With financial support from Amazon and overseas networks, the Stephen King drama was profitable even before it aired — and it cracked the code for CBS to schedule much more original programming in the summer. Under The Dome “is a new form of entertainment,” CBS chief Les Moonves told analysts in a conference call to discuss Q2 results. While the network would have been OK if it hadn’t caught on, its success means it “will bring a ton of profits into the third quarter” and “is going to be very profitable for years to come.” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called Moonves to congratulate him on the performance: The e-retailer streams episodes four days after they first air on CBS, and it has become Amazon’s most-watched program. Now, Moonves says, “you’ll see every network try to replicate the model….There’s a huge appetite.” About a third of the series’ viewers watch on on DVRs or online. That would help to make it a hit even if it aired during the conventional prime time season. “It’s doing numbers that would have made it the second highest drama on network television,” Moonves says. “It means we’re going to program all year long, from September to September.” CBS announced this week that it has renewed the series for a second season.

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