CBS Orders Straight-to-Series Adaptation of Stephen King's Under the Dome

CBS is setting up shop Under the Dome.

The network bypassed the pilot process and ordered 13 episodes of a series based on Stephen King‘s 2009 novel, it announced today.

The supernatural drama will be produced by Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

RELATED | Scoop: NBC Orders Period Drama from Downton Abbey Creator Julian Fellowes

King’s gigantic novel is about a New England town that finds itself trapped under a massive, see-through dome — think The Simpsons Movie, but scary. Inside, the situation eventually devolves into chaos as the town’s residents try to figure out whether they’ll ever see the other side again.

The project was originally intended for Showtime, but wound up at CBS when Amblin felt the project wasn’t moving forward at the pay cabler, our sister site Deadline reports. Lost scribe Brian K. Vaughan, who adapted King’s work for the script, will serve as an executive producer alongside King, Neal Baer (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit — who also will serve as showrunner), Justin Falvey (Smash) and others. (Fun fact: At one point during Dome‘s long development period, Lost‘s Carlton Cuse was approached about being showrunner.)

Under the Dome is scheduled to debut in summer 2013.

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  1. John says:

    AWESOME!! Just hope it doesn’t end up being a stinker when it translates to the screen from the book. And how will they be able make this into a series! Mini-series would be great. Either way, I’m very excited!

    • JD says:

      One of the characters needs to be watching The Simpsons movie when they start to realize something’s wrong…

    • Eli says:

      There is nothing horror about the book, save for the idea that the people are trapped inside the dome, there is barely anything sci-fi about it either (except for a rather bland sci-fi-ish ending). It is a soap opera honestly, alright you can call it character drama if you’d rather. I’d rather see this as a miniseries, 13 episodes is too much

      • Eli says:

        Alright, having read more about this project, it will a summer programming event with a finale that allows CBS to order more seasons. The story is based on the Dome concept but will not adhere to the book and may have a different ending…
        OK CBS now i’m feeling a bit better about this, but i hope the summer season finale is rather conclusive, we all know the most common fate of dramas launched in the summer

  2. Stefan says:

    Is CBS producing a drama that is not a police procedural?

  3. Anna says:

    I don’t know the book, but this sounds interesting! Haven did an episode like this, I think it was also meant as an homage to King, since the show is based on his “Colorado Kid” and all, and I liked that one – so I’m really looking forward to this!

  4. Too bad. A show like this won’t survive on CBS. It would have greater chances of survival on cable.

  5. Kalee says:

    On CBS? Have fun with that.

  6. Josh says:

    Well CBS does adult drama with Good Wife so this would be a good pair for it. It would be CBS finally saying ” we have smart shows too”

    • boomingechoes says:

      Problem is the show wont be seen as, nor sold as, an adult show: It’ll be shopped to viewers as a sci-fi/horror show. Both of which are incredibly hard sells on the basic networks right now (look at 666 being canceled in the adult-horror genre), let alone on one where the closet thing to it is a procedural with a magc machine that predicts crimes and a procedural that (i think) got canceled about a cop who as a magic memory… Doesnt exacly intill confidence.

      Then again neither does the fact that they’re also making a Beverly Hills Cop show…

      People crap on FOX, including myself, but they’re the only network thats really been wiling to take a long term risk trying to get genre television on the basic circuit. Sure other *seem* like they’ve tried but aside from LOST, Heroes and now Revolution, they all bailed out on anything like it before they’ve let it get any where. FOX let a show it wanted to kill after the second season get another -what?- 2 seasins at least, when they could have just killed it?

      People need to let the Firefly hate go. It was a long time ago now.

      • John says:

        I’ve disagree on the bailing issue. FOX pulled Alcatraz and Terra Nova within 10-12 episodes. NBC gave The Event a 22-episode chance and they had Heroes. The Lost network, ABC gave 2 seasons for V to gain a footing and it backfired. I have forgiven FOX for the Firefly fiasco since we got 2 seasons extra of Fringe..

        • Shane says:

          I love Fringe and am glad it has lasted this long, but I’m sorry, it most certainly has NOT absolved Fox of its cancellation of Firefly.

        • nick1372 says:

          Woah woah woah. Fox did not pull either Alcatraz or Terra Nova. Only 13 episodes of Terra Nova were even planned out; the EPs only wanted a small season. And because Fox had 4 1/2 new hours of television in the fall (The X Factor, TN, & New Girl), their other new dramas had to be pushed to midseason simply because Fox didn’t have the time to slot them in. Since there were 3 midseason dramas, they couldn’t be more than 13 episodes. Fox actually ordered more episodes of Alcatraz as schedule filler.
          Terra Nova aired all of its planned episodes and Alcatraz aired all of them and a few more. It’s so funny when delusional people make things up.

  7. marco says:

    Can anyone else remember “Terra Nova” ? I am not getting suckered in to watch another good show with a intersting concepts and NEW things when we all know that it will be cancelled. Dick Wolf procedurals are all the networks are interested in. Don’t bother, you will get crapped on, same as Flash Forward, V, Jericho, Last Resort, Terra Nova, and we barely survived with a shortened season of Fringe. They are wasting our time and the studios money by even talking about this. Old dog, Old tricks !

    • Midori004 says:

      The difference between this show and Terra Nova?

      This show might actually turn up good.

      • tara17 says:

        Hey, I liked Terra Nova. The last episode was spectacular. Oh well!

        • John says:

          What was spectacular about soldiers waiting in front of the portal and getting blasted by? That was idiotic. They should have been far away in more vantage points. The final twist was just contrived, just like everything else on the show.

        • Renee says:

          I liked Terra Nova too. Still bitter about it getting pretty good ratings, but they cancelled it anyway.

    • Renee says:

      Good news is it’s not on Fox. Admittedly all networks cancel shows they shouldn’t, but Fox is a chronic offender. Last year alone they cancelled Terra Nova, The Finder, Alcatraz…you get the picture.

      • chirs says:

        your mean three shows, two of which were good (the finder and Alcatraz), but had terrible ratings. Fox is also the network that gave fringe two extra seasons, that ratings wise it didn’t deserve

        • Renee says:

          And that’s great for Fringe fans, but the 10 million Terra Nova fans got the f u.

          • Josh says:

            Everyone seems to neglect the fact the Terra Nova cost a fortune. The pilot itself cause 14 million, and each episode cost about 10 million to make. With that budget, FOX was expected CBS numbers – numbers which Terra Nova only managed to get half of. It was barely in the Top 50 shows in terms of ratings.

          • nick1372 says:

            Actually, Fox president Kevin Reilly himself said last winter that Terra Nova was getting a profit for the network.
            The bad choice for them was waiting until the point where it was too late to air in the fall. Two of their other new dramas, Alcatraz and Touch, had started getting similar ratings, but they had lower costs and could collapse. Would they renew it, and then possibly have a ton of dramas, or cancel it, and have the possiblity of all the new dramas being flops? They took the lazy route and didn’t decide, which hurt them in the long run.

    • John says:

      1. Going by the ratings, FOX gave Fringe 2 undeserved seasons and I’m a huge fan.
      2. Under the Dome is being produced for CBS, not FOX.
      3. Dick Wolf shows are on frickin’ NBC.
      4. V, Last Resort, Terra Nova, Event, Alcatraz and Flash Forward (only one I even remotely liked as the show progressed) all suck/sucked!

  8. Midori004 says:

    Mini-series… Networks make mini-series!

    • John says:

      NBC is making a pirate mini-series with Hugh Laurie (probably). Awake could be considered as a mini-series too. It had a semi-great ending.

      • Midori004 says:

        But I don’t think either one of these is a true miniseries.

        Awake was a series, it just got canceled. More networks need to do true miniseires and just call it a day. Last resort would have been an amazing miniseries.

        • Boomingechoes says:

          Problem is in the last, maybe, two years or so anything thats been canceled before it’s “time”, and within the first seaon,is being called a “mini-series” by networks trying to save face instead of calling a spade a spade and owning up to the fact that their show failed or they just failed their show.

          So yeah, theres been A LOT of not actual mini-series floating around now, and it all confuses the issue that some shows were simply better off going unmade, either at the time or by who made them.

          Terra Nova is a great example to that. Premise was pretty good but got weighed down heavily by having Spielbergs name any where near it. Automatically fell into being family friendly instead of how gritty it needed to be, while loading up the budget with largely unneeded effects – which no one here seems to realize is what really killed the show. Sure the ratings were good but the budget for efects, and how those effects pushed the series back by MONTHS before its premere (show was supposed to premier in may, not fall, if I remember correctly) is what made FOX cancel it. It was too ambitious and no one could afford it (and look at how pittiful the effects came out… shows with far lesser budgets, on cable, have done better. it was a slap in the face to everyones sensibilities) couldnt afford it. Why do you think most of this years new show on the network are cheaply made half hour comedies?

          • John says:

            The US ratings for Terra Nova were not good. Only the overseas sale made it profitable somewhat. And Spielberg has made some of the grittiest movies in history. The showrunners are at fault, not him.

  9. tara17 says:

    Indeed, “Simpsons did it!”.

    • Blake says:

      The Simpsons did this in 2007. King wrote his novel in 2009. Wherever did King get his brilliant, original idea?

      • Deeezy says:

        King started the book/concept years before The Simpsons was even a series. It was called The Cannibals then. He stole exactly zero.

      • Flaw says:

        King published it in 2009, he didn´t write it in a year, he´s been writing and talking about this idea for over a decade

        • Chuck Finley (AJ) says:

          He has written two books concerning this idea. He has been working on it for almost 35 years, not a decade. Some parts of his first attempt were published and that is likely what inspired it to appear in The Simpsons. People saying he stole this from them are like the people that get upset that the Beatles copied Beiber FFS.

          • John says:

            “People saying he stole this from them are like the people that get upset that the Beatles copied Beiber FFS.”
            Lmao!! That was hilarious! Thank you!

      • Paul says:

        King started this book back in the Seventies, put it down, and picked it back up again a few years ago. King stole nothing.

      • JD says:

        In an interview before The Simpsons movie was released, Matt Groening said they had to get permission from Stephen King before they made the movie because it was known that the dome idea was something that King had been writing on and off for years.

  10. Derek Odom says:

    Anyone remember Jericho? Small town with residents trying to solve everything? It too was a break from CBS’ procedurals. Look how that turned out. Won’t make it past the 13 episodes for sure.

    • John says:

      It suffered because it was horrid and cartoonish for the majority of season 1. During the final moments of the season, it got good and by then, it was too late.

    • nick1372 says:

      Let’s take a look at the other series that’s on the air with small-town residents that have big scifi problems. Oh, that’s Once Upon a Time. And what’s that? Only the highest-rated drama series this past week…

  11. Adam Bramble says:

    Please be better then Bag Of Bones! This is a perfect book, Hope they don’t ruin it.

  12. Gilda says:

    I’ve never read this book, but it sounds like the Gone books with adults. They were published around the same time, no foul play, but they sound really similar. I’ll check it out!

    • Jon says:

      Yeah I was just thinking that too but as others say King probably thought of the idea several years ago and plus the book probably differs from the Gone series in certain plots, ( although I really wish they would do a Gone series with like 13 episode seasons since most of the books take place over only a couple of days).

    • John says:

      Stephen King has even praised the Gone series. But he didn’t steal any ideas from it. He has been writing and talking about this concept for decades.

  13. John says:

    This was without a doubt one of the worst books I’ve ever read. I won’t say why so as not to spoil it. But for the people who read it: how were you ok with the ending? The reason for the dome was probably the most laughable thing I’ve heard of.

  14. Mellie says:


  15. ollie says:

    i didnt like the book at all and im a huge king fan. that being said i will watch it. i loved the tv versions of the stand and the shining which stuck real close to the books which is rare. l just think this would work better as a mini series than show.

  16. Teag says:

    Is this a mini series?

  17. Julia says:

    Very excited, am currently reading the book and loving it!

  18. mia says:

    Awesome! Good work on CBS’s part – shows a lot of early faith. I’ll be certainly checking it out

  19. nick1372 says:

    This looks good, but I think they’re going to kill it by putting it in the summer. What’s it going to get as a lead-in, Big Brother? Please.

  20. Steve says:

    Um…Lost writers huh? So, after 5 years we find out that the entire thing was an oxygen deprivation hallucination and they all ran out of air and died in the first season. Why the Dome appears is never explained; their spirits/souls were just trapped until the Dome cracks and they were hanging out together until they got over it?

    • ollie says:

      on lost they did not i repeat did not all die in the first season. the whole show didnt take place with them in the afterlife. hurly and ben talk about their time ruling the island togther. uhh sorry to drag this up but im so tired off people thinking they were dead the whole time.

  21. ollie says:

    and abc was the one that wanted the last shot of the plane not anybody who worked on lost. it seems people use that as an excuse for the theory they were dead the whole time.

  22. James Chumley says:

    Was’t there an earlier show featuring the same concept? Maybe it was a force field or it was a dome and people couldn’t leave. The program was at least ten years ago.

  23. JIM says: