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The network has ordered straight to series an adaptation of King’s 2009 best-seller Under the Dome, scheduling the 13-episode effort for summer 2013, where it will join the recently revived second season of Poppy Montgomery starrer Unforgettable.
CBS Television Studios will produce the series in association with Spielberg’s Amblin Television. Neal Baer (A Gifted Man, Law & Order: SVU), King, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stacey Snider and comic scribe Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Lost), who penned the Under the Dome television adaptation, will serve as executive producers. Director Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Unforgettable) will direct the first episode. Under the Dome initially was developed for CBS corporate sibling Showtime, with the project first announced in August 2011.
Based on the book about locals at a small New England town that is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome, its residents must deal with surviving the postapocalyptic conditions while searching for answers to what the barrier is, where it came from and when — and if — it will go away.
CBS and book publisher Simon & Schuster will cross-promote the television series and book in advance of the series’ summer launch with the April re-release of the trade paperback and electronic editions of the novel. The network also will launch the series with a multiplatform window, with each installment available shortly after its original broadcast. CBS Television Distribution will handle domestic distribution, with CBS Studios International handling worldwide efforts.
The move to run the big swing series comes after CBS has struggled to keep the lights on during the summer with unscripted series including Big Brother, dating effort 3 and Dogs in the City, the latter two of which failed to catch on at the network.
Under the Dome will join Unforgettable on CBS’ summer slate as the network continues to bulk up with scripted programming after such reality efforts as 3 and Dogs tanked. The network revived the Montgomery drama, about a detective who remembers everything except the day her sister was murdered, in June — two months after canceling the freshman effort — with a truncated 13-episode order. The series from Ed Redlich, Carl Beverly and Sarah Timberman had been a steady performer at 10 p.m. Tuesdays, averaging 12.1 million viewers and a 2.5 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.
Reality shows have been the broadcast networks’ summer savior for more than a decade. But this season, with rare exceptions, nearly all returning shows have seen dramatic declines, and nearly every new effort has been a certifiable bomb.
This marks the latest pairing for King — who ranks No. 1 on THR’s inaugural Power Authors list — with Spielberg, who previously teamed on The Talisman.