CBS announced today that their third season Summer sci fi series Under the Dome will be coming to an end when the show wraps up next week. The network had already mentioned during the TCAs that the dome would be coming down at the end of the season, but they stopped short of saying the show would be cancelled. But now that pivotal event for the series will now apparently act as its final wrap up. The announcement does not come as a huge surprise because the show’s ratings have dropped significantly this Summer and it has slipped notably down in our Power Rankings. When Under the Dome bowed two years ago, it enjoyed huge ratings for a Summer series with a 3.3 rating based on the overnights in the 18-49 demographic for its debut and an average of a 2.7 score. Those numbers dropped in its second season, though, to a 1.6 average and for its third season it is down further to a 1.0. I have had it On the Bubble for several weeks even though CBS has a partnership with Amazon (they get exclusive streaming rights after an episode has aired live) and international financing backing it. Those agreements make the show profitable out of the gate, but apparently the network did not like the fact that its viewership had dropped so low.
With Under the Dome cancelled, the obvious question is what will happen to Extant which has similar partnerships backing it but which is even more ratings challenged in its second year (it is currently averaging a 0.7 score). I was thinking that CBS may elect to cut ties with that one as well, but Deadline Hollywood seems to think that the cancellation of the one show helps the other. They claim that network executives are happy with Extant after rebooting the story to an extent following its first season, but those ratings have to be an eyesore. If the network does give it another season, I’m thinking there is a good chance that will be its last. They may decide to follow the same pattern now set by Under the Dome and let Extant come to a resolution after a third season. Since the Amazon partnership / international financing make both shows profitable, there is not a need to set sights on a long-term run of 80 to 100 episodes in order to have a syndication run (where most broadcast network shows eventually start to turn a profit). A shortened thirty to forty episode run is enough for international syndication (a market that does not always demand a large number of episodes), and if a show manages to resolve its storylines that likely makes it more attractive. I believe that it is still wait and see on Extant and fans of that show should not get their hopes too high for a third season. But if that comes, I would put good money on that being its last.
As for CBS’ third Summer sci fi series, Zoo, that one is performing better than either Under the Dome or Extant (pulling an average of a 1.1 rating) and looks like it could be on track to get a second season. It is likely an expensive series, though, and does not have the same partnerships / financing as the other two, so the renewal is not in the bag just yet. But unless its ratings slump notably over the next few weeks, I believe that its chances are good.
The series finale for Under the Dome will be on September 10th. The two hour season finale for Extant will be next week as well with Zoo wrapping up its first season on September 15th.