Stephen King On Why ‘Under The Dome’ Was Canceled: ‘It Started Off Smart And Got Dumb’

After only three seasons, Under the Dome, the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s 2009 best-selling novel of the same name, was canceled by CBS. In a new interview, King claimed that the show’s lack of structure ultimately led to its cancellation.

Stephen King did not hold back when asked about his thoughts on the seemingly sudden cancellation of Under the Dome back in 2015. In an interview with Toronto Sun, King said that the reason why the show was canceled was because “it got dumb.”

Under the Dome started off smart and got dumb. I may get some negative feedback from the network, but I don’t care,” he said.

When Under the Dome premiered in 2013, CBS had high hopes for the series. The premiere episode was seen by 13.5 million viewers, which was reportedly one of the best numbers for any summer series in years. Unfortunately, Under the Dome was not able to sustain momentum and ratings consistently declined over two years until the network announced its cancellation in 2015.

Perhaps one of the biggest factors that contributed to the series getting canceled is that the writers weren’t able to give the show proper structure. To further get his point across, King borrowed a line from the movie adaptation of his short story, Stand By Me.

“‘Wagon Train’s a really cool show, but did you notice they never get anywhere? They just keep wagon training.’ Well, people on Under the Dome just kept Under the Doming. Shows need a beginning, middle and end… don’t keep on wagon training,” he explained.

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In 2014, Stephen King told Buzzfeed that he was actually more involved in the production of Under the Dome compared to most other adaptations of his work. According to him, he took the responsibility very seriously knowing that it’s his reputation that’s on the line the moment the series flops.

“I sometimes tell people that the ideal situation is, if the thing is a success you can say, ‘It’s based on my work.’ If the thing is not a success, you can say, ‘Well, I didn’t have anything to do with it.’ You’re in great shape either way. But once you’re involved, you’re putting some of your own ego and some of your own track record, if you will, on the line,” King previously said.

The last #DomeDay is here! Don't miss the series finale of #UnderTheDome tonight! @realmikevogel

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Back then, King was not overly concerned with how different the adaptation might end up being compared to his source material. When Under the Dome executive producers Neal Baer and Brian Vaughan talked to him about their plans to take some parts of his story in a different direction, there was no hesitation on King’s part.

“In another way, writing a book or writing a story is like being in a room that has a lot of doors. I chose one to go through, but you only get one choice when you’re writing a novel. So this is getting a chance to go back,” he said.

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