Under the Dome was planning on adding a bit of realism to their pilot episode, using some audio from an actual speech from President Obama, however it looks like they're backing out of that plan ahead of next Monday night's series premiere. And that may be for the best, considering the source of the audio. In this case, context is key.
Under the Dome is based on Stephen King's novel and centers on a small New England town that finds itself incapsulated by a mysterious dome. As you can imagine, this little incident does not go unnoticed by the rest of the country. While the people inside the dome attempt to deal with their limited resources and the fact that they're trapped - some separated from their families - the rest of the country and the government are trying to figure out what's happened.
A screener of the first episode had been sent to the press, and that (technically unfinished) cut of the pilot included an actual audio segment of President Obama addressing the situation. I've seen the episode, and - without getting into major spoilers, though it wouldn't be all that difficult to speculate when considering the premise - the audio comes in at the end of the episode and has the President speaking in vague terms about his and America's support for the people inside the dome - though he doesn't actually reference the dome. I will admit that I raised an eyebrow when I heard the sound of the actual President, knowing immediately that this segment must have been pulled from some speech he made discussing a real event, though his wording is just vague enough that it could be applied to anything. And that's presumably what they were going for when that audio clip was selected and re-applied to the fictional events in Under the Dome. However, Deadline (via LA Times) is now saying that the audio has since been cut from the episode.
The site reports that the audio used came from remarks the President made in a speech about Hurricane Sandy. According to the statement issued by CBS:
“The scene cleared broadcast standards, but both Amblin TV and CBS had concerns about using actual audio in this specific fictional context.”
Having seen how it fits into the episode, I can understand why the writers and/or director might have wanted to use the audio as much as I can understand why CBS and Amblin Television (the show's producer) decided to cut it. On one hand, the sound of the President's voice speaking about a disaster does set a serious tone behind the scene, and as the LA Times points out, use of audio from actual news events for a fictional TV series is not that unusual. But on the other hand, recycling audio used in the wake of a real disaster in an effort to create suspense and excitement for an unrelated fictional disaster may be seen as in poor taste and probably isn't something that should be done often or at all in TV shows or movies. Again, context is key. Removing the audio isn't going to change anything about the story, though it might diminish the ominous tone of the situation just a bit. Still, that may be for the best.
Here's the latest Under the Dome featurette:
Under the Dome stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Colin Ford, Natalie Martinez, Dean Norris, Ned Bellamy and Britt Robertson. The series premieres Monday, June 24 on CBS.