CBS's 'Under the Dome' Hits Ratings Low Amid Time Warner Cable Blackout

Series Gets 10.2 Million Viewers Monday Night, Down From More Than 11 Million

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CBS's "Under the Dome," hit a series low Monday night amid the Time Warner Cable blackout that has left customers in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles without the network.

'Under the Dome' on CBS
'Under the Dome' on CBS

The seventh of thirteen episodes in the drama's first season was watched by 10.2 million viewers, down from the more than 11 million a week prior. "Under the Dome" was up against "The Bachelorette: After the Final Rose" on ABC, which drew 8.3 million viewers.

"Under the Dome," was still the most-watched show on Monday night among both adults 25 to 54 years old and total viewers.

Time Warner Cable pulled CBS and its sibling Showtime at 5 p.m. Friday after the companies failed to reach an agreement in the carriage dispute that has dragged on over a month. The blackout impacts about 3.2 million viewers.

In other developments, CBS CEO Les Moonves on Tuesday responded to a letter from Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt on Monday proposing to restore the network's signal while talks continue "with the new economics TWC reluctantly agreed to during our negotiations" but the old terms and conditions over matters like rights to streaming video. Mr. Britt, who sent the letter to Mr. Moonves and the media at the same time, also suggested offering CBS on a la carte basis.

Mr. Moonves called that idea "an empty gesture."

"The economics and structure of the cable industry have created a certain way that content is distributed and compensated," he said in an open letter to Mr. Britt. "We both know that a true a la carte universe is not one that Time Warner Cable welcomes."

Mr. Moonves noted that Time Warner Cable doesn't offer its new Lakers and Dodgers networks an a la carte basis, instead making subscribers in Los Angeles pay for the channels whether they want them or not.

He also dismissed the suggestion to put CBS back on under the same terms and conditions as its previous agreement: "On the surface of it, that looks reasonable," Mr. Moonves wrote. "But it's not. Clever PR, perhaps, but not genuine negotiation."

"As I am sure you know, we have no 'new economics' that are not intimately tied to new 'terms and conditions,'" he continued. "Those terms and conditions, better known as rights, were established in 2008. That was before the introduction of the iPad. Netflix was still doing little but mailing out DVDs. Amazon was known simply for selling books. This doesn't even begin to account for the new entrants now coming up the ramp who are interested in paying a fair price for the most desirable programming."

Time Warner Cable said today that its offers had been sincere. "We cannot understand why that is not enough for CBS," a spokeswoman said in an email. "We're disappointed in their lack of responsiveness, particularly to our request for them to quit unfairly blocking the free content available on CBS.com from our Internet customers. We hope they will return to the table to negotiate in good faith on behalf of our customers and their viewers."

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