If you’re a fan of CBS’ summer sci-fi slate of Under the Dome and Extant, we’ve got some good news for you. Both shows have been renewed by CBS, and will be returning for a third and second season, respectively. The Under the Dome news merits only a disinterested yawn as far as we’re concerned, but it’s good to see the underwatched Extant getting the chance to keep finding its footing. It’s also rather surprising given the show’s ratings.
Under the Dome soon became one of the biggest disappointments we’ve seen when it premiered last year. Sure, Stephen King adaptations have a hugely uneven success rate, but comics legend Brian K. Vaughan was aboard as showrunner, and how could we not be excited by that? Sadly, the show we got was by turns frustrating and ridiculous, so I bailed on the show at the end of the first season. As for Extant, I quite liked the premiere, but I didn’t keep up with it after that. I keep meaning to sit down and marathon it off Amazon Prime, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Still, I’m glad to see it getting a second season, because more sci-fi on TV can only be a good thing.
A third season for Under the Dome was pretty much a no-brainer in spite of the show being dumber than a bag of hammers. The King adaptation pulled in an impressive 13.5 million viewers when it premiered last summer, but then dropped to 9.4 million for this year’s premiere. By the time this season’s finale aired that had dropped to 7.5 million, but when you factor in the Live+7 DVR numbers — how many people watch a recorded show within seven days of its original airing — Under the Dome averages 11 million viewers, making it the top scripted series of the summer.
As for Extant, which stars Halle Berry as an astronaut who becomes mysteriously pregnant after a 13-month solo space mission, it’s had a rougher time of it. With a well-known actress in the lead and some major cred in the form of executive producer Steven Spielberg, Extant had all the makings of event television, but its season premiere numbers of 9.6 million viewers had slid down to 5.4 million by the time its September finale rolled around. (CBS bumping it around the schedule probably didn’t help.)
One key reason why Extant might have been granted a stay of execution is because CBS has a pricey deal for both shows with Amazon Prime, which is reportedly costing Amazon nearly a million bucks an episode for exclusive streaming rights. The Spielberg connection probably doesn’t hurt either.
Expect Under the Dome and Extant to return next summer, likely in June and July, respectively, assuming they follow this year’s pattern.