Posted by:
Byron Brewer

Exclusive: Showrunner Neal Baer Talks Stephen King's Sci-Fi Thriller Of Survival in CBS's Under the Dome

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FROM RIGHT: Neal Baer
& Brian K. Vaughan

One of the most promising summer treats for cosmic TV fans will be the debut of a weekly series on CBS based on Stephen King’s novel, Under the Dome.

Along with King, serving as executive producers on the show are Brian K. Vaughan (who developed the series), Neal Baer, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank and Stacy Snider.

Baer serves as day-to-day showrunner, and it was this authority to which Byron Brewer, Managing Editor of Cosmic Book News, went to exclusively get the inside 411 on the summer series.

Cosmic Book News: First, thank you for talking with us, Mr. Baer. So how did this project for Summer 2013 come about?

Neal Baer: The script was developed two years ago for Showtime and when they decided not to go forward, CBS picked up the project. They were looking to do a summer series -- which they hadn't done before -- and they felt Under the Dome would make a great summer show.

8168 CBN: Under the Dome is adapted from the Stephen King novel. What would you say is the major differences between the two?

Neal Baer: Stephen King's novel takes place over a limited number of days; our series takes place over a longer period. We hope as many years as the show is on! 

CBN: For the uninitiated, set up the circumstances for us of the series.

Neal Baer: A small town in Anywhere, America suddenly finds itself inexplicably trapped under an invisible dome, where no one can enter and no one can escape.

CBN: Can you tell us the major protagonists in Dome and who has been cast to play them?

Neal Baer: Mike Vogel will play Dale "Barbie" Barbara; Rachelle LaFevre (Twilight) will play Julia Shumway; Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) plays Big Jim Rennie, the town councilman and villain.

8169 CBN: There are a lot of very adult parts to King's book. How will this be handled on Broadcast TV?

Neal Baer: We will not draw back on the psychological elements of the book, nor will we skimp on the adult relationships. It's pretty much like cable, but perhaps with a little less overt sex.

CBN: Besides the dome and the threat it represents, what other dangers present themselves to those both inside and outside the dome?

Neal Baer: The dangers lurk within us: how we treat each other when we're forced to live together with dwindling resources.

CBN: So is this a "CBS mini-series" or is there a possibility for a Season 2?

Neal Baer: This is NOT a mini-series. This is a 13-episode series that will come back next summer if it does well.

8170 CBN: At the end of Dome, what should viewers who have been loyal to the series over the long summer expect?

Neal Baer: To be shocked! And awed!

CBN: How much input has Stephen King had on the production?

Neal Baer: He reads all the scripts and makes great suggestions! We're so lucky to have his wise input.

CBN: Will there be any surprises in the series for those who HAVE read King's novel?

Neal Baer: PLENTY!

Cosmic Book News would like to thank “Under the Dome” Executive Producer Neal Baer for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. We also thank Mitch Graham and Kristen J. Hall of CBS who helped make this interview possible.

“Under the Dome” begins airing Monday, June 24th at 10 p.m. Eastern on CBS!

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