Drill Bits: Another Ratings Win for TNT’s Dallas

Dallas, Josh Henderson, John Ross Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Viewers came back too

The real test for new TV shows isn’t the number of people who tune in for the premiere – it’s the number who come back during the second week. If a series holds onto enough of its audience during week two, it’s a good sign viewers like what they see and will keep coming back for more.

TNT’s “Dallas” didn’t just pass its second-week test – it aced it!

The series premiered June 13 with 6.9 million viewers, including 1.9 million adults between the ages of 18 to 49, the group advertisers prize above all others.

One week later, TNT’s June 20 “Dallas” episode, “The Price You Pay,” drew 4.8 million viewers, becoming the evening’s most-watched cable show. Here’s what’s really impressive: This audience included 1.7 million viewers between 18 and 49.

In other words: Almost all the 18-to-49-year-olds who watched “Dallas” during week one came back during week two.

This doesn’t guarantee “Dallas” another season, but it’s an encouraging sign. Hopefully TNT will renew the series soon.

More Numbers

While we’re on the subject of “Dallas’s” June 13 debut, it’s now official: The two-hour premiere was cable television’s most-watched telecast last week, boosting TNT to a first-place finish among all cable channels.

And when you include the number of viewers who watched “Dallas” on DVRs within three days of the original telecast, the show’s total viewership rises from 6.9 million viewers to 7.8 million viewers.

By the way: This is the first time “Dallas” has finished first in a weekly ratings race since “Swan Song,” the 1985 episode that ended with Bobby’s “death.”

Hagman’s Advice to Henderson

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson

Enjoy the ride

In “The Price You Pay,” J.R. dispenses a lot of wisdom to John Ross, including Jock’s famous maxim that “real power is something you take.”

In real life, what advice has Larry Hagman offered advice Josh Henderson?

“You know, the first thing he ever said to me when we were on set was, ‘Enjoy the ride.’ He literally just said, ‘Have fun,’” Henderson told me and a group of other bloggers and critics during a conference call last month.

“I think what made the original [series] so special was that Larry, Linda, Patrick – the original cast – they truly had fun and they really like each other. And I think that when that happens, you can trust your coworker or the actor that you’re with in the scene more, meaning that you can go deeper with the characters to make a better TV show.”

Line of the Week

“Bullets don’t seem to have much an effect on me, darlin’.”

J.R.’s comment to Ann in “The Price You Pay’s” storage barn scene was a winking nod to his tendency to get shot on the original “Dallas.” Everyone knows J.R.’s sister-in-law/mistress/secretary Kristin pumped lead into him in 1980, but casual fans might have forgotten he also got plugged during a hunting trip (1979’s “The Dove Hunt”), by Sue Ellen (1988’s “The Fat Lady Singeth”) and by a crazed business rival (the 1998 reunion movie “War of the Ewings”).

Speaking of plugs: Dallas Decoder will critique the 1980 “Who Shot J.R.?” episodes, beginning next week. If you need a refresher on “Dallas’s” most famous storyline, be sure to check them out.

Power Trip

Are you playing “Rise to Power,” TNT’s online “Dallas” game?

Each week, fans are asked to align themselves with the character who has what it takes to “rise to power” during TNT’s next “Dallas” episode. Players earn points based on each character’s weekly “power ranking,” but additional points can be earned by touting the show on Facebook and Twitter.

The grand prize is a trip to Southfork. Weekly prizes include autographed posters, Ewing Oil hardhats and a collection of TNT’s “Dallas Quickies” tweets in book form.

That’s One Strong Drink

A reminder to check out the “Dallas Drinks” cocktail recipes from Cook In/Dine Out. This week’s drink is inspired by Ann Ewing, played by the awesome Brenda Strong. Make sure you serve it in a tall glass!

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news and trivia about TNT’s “Dallas,” is posted regularly during the show’s summer run.

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