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"Dome" Is No. 1 here but could take national hit tonight

By Alan Pergament

This is what I’m thinking:

I might have waited a little longer than CBS did in announcing that there will be a second season of the Stephen King miniseries "Under the Dome."

That pretty much tells viewers not to expect a big finish this season and that may make fewer of them care as the weeks go by.

That said, "Dome" is a big local hit. The last Monday night episode had an 8.0 rating on Channel 4, which is higher than it did the week before. And ratings increase with secondary viewing on DVRs and On Demand.

In the July ratings period, "Dome" was the No.1 entertainment program in Western New York, It averaged a 12.0 rating after viewing seven days after it originally aired is added. More on what WNYers watch later in the week.

During the Television Critics Association meetings in Beverly Hills, Calif. (which I did not attend), CBS president and chief executive officer Leslie Moonves, who overseers Showtime and CBS, was told by one critic that keeping people under the dome too long could be a problem.

"Why can't they be under the dome for a long period of time?" he responded. "This is television. This is science fiction.  They're up on some planet somewhere for many years. 'Under the Dome,' in a lot of ways, is a soap opera.  It's 'Dallas' in the future."

"Dome" was originally planned for Showtime before Viacom decided to move it to CBS. It was a wise decision. According to CBS researcher David Poltrack, "Dome" has had more viewers than the top four new cable entries combined.

Unless a deal is made today, the national ratings for "Dome" should take a hit tonight since CBS owned-and-operated stations in New York City and other large markets are off Time Warner Cable because of another retransmission fee dispute that WNYers are so familiar with.

The owner of Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate, made a deal with TWC recently that has kept CBS programs on here. But the national dispute also is keeping Showtime off the air nationally in Time Warner markets, including WNY. I'm told (I'm out of town) that meant "Dexter" and "Ray Donovan" couldn’t be seen Sunday and other hits will be missing.

I wouldn't fret if I were a local Showtime subscriber. Once a deal is made, the episodes that are missed surely will be available on Showtime On Demand so it will be easy to catch up by binge viewing.  

I wouldn’t expect the contract impasse to last too long because the NFL season is arriving in a month and TWC and CBS realize that New Yorkers and fans in other big CBS markets impacted can’t live without football.

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