CBS Ratings Steady So Far in Blackout but 'Under the Dome' Looms Tonight

'Big Brother,' 'Unforgettable' Draw Viewers on Par With Pre-Blackout Level

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CBS saw minimal ratings impact over the weekend after Time Warner Cable pulled its signal in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, the broadcaster said Monday in the latest bit of posturing between the companies.

The latest print ad from CBS
The latest print ad from CBS

The network's Sunday night ratings were on par with the night a week earlier in the all-important 18-to-49 demo, according to CBS. The first three nights of the blackout, which began on Friday, undermined ratings as a whole by 1%, CBS estimated.

"Because of CBS's strong ratings growth this summer, the net effect of the blackout will not present an overall ratings hardship," CBS said in a statement. "In addition, August is traditionally one of the lowest months of the year for ratings and advertising revenue, making the overall financial impact of the blackout negligible."

But a bigger test will come Monday night, when "Under the Dome" airs. The 13-episode drama has been a runaway summer hit for CBS. Last week's episode was watched by just over 11 million people.

The blackout, which took effect on Friday at 5 p.m. after weeks of extended negotiations, affects 3.2 million Time Warner Cable customers. Time Warner Cable also dropped Showtime in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas, preventing viewers from watching "Dexter," which is in its final season, last night.

And CBS has blocked Time Warner Cable internet subscribers from accessing CBS and Showtime content streaming over the web, a move that Time Warner Cable called out in one of its own PR blasts.

"CBS has shown utter lack of regard for consumers by blocking Time Warner Cable's customers, including our high-speed data only customers, from accessing their shows on their free website," a Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said in a statement Friday night. "CBS enjoys the privilege of using public owned airwaves to deliver their programming -- they should not be allowed to abuse that privilege."

The dispute centers on CBS's demands for an increase in fees it gets in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles -- a boost to levels that Time Warner Cable has claimed are 600% higher than it pays the network in other markets.

Over the weekend, CBS rolled out new print, outdoor and TV ads bidding viewers to call Time Warner Cable to complain about the blackout.

CBS said there are currently no negotiations taking place with Time Warner Cable.

The cable operator said Showtime subscribers will receive a credit on their next bill.

"Big Brother" drew 6.8 million viewers on Sunday, on par with the week prior, while "Unforgettable" brought in 7 million viewers, also consistent with the week earlier.

CBS Sports' coverage of the final round of the Bridgestone Invitational Golf Tournament attracted 3.8 million viewers and was the highest-rated final round since 2009, according to the network.

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