Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Rise Again

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes, TNT, Trial and Error

Feel that ratings momentum!

“Dallas’s” audience has grown for the second week in a row. The TNT drama’s latest episode, “Trial and Error,” was seen by 2.5 million viewers on February 18, up from the 2.4 million who watched the previous week’s telecast.

The “Trial and Error” audience included about 890,000 viewers between ages 18 and 49, a group advertisers pay a premium to reach.

TNT shows “Dallas” on Monday nights at 9, where it faces stiff competition from the broadcast networks and other cable channels. This week, “Dallas’s” rivals included CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” (10.3 million viewers), Fox’s “The Following” (8.4 million) and History’s “American Pickers” (4.4 million).

But DVR users are giving “Dallas” a big boost each week. The two-hour season premiere was seen by 4 million viewers within a week of its January 28 debut, up 36 percent from the number who watched on opening night.

DVR users who recorded Season 2’s third hour, “Sins of the Father,” and watched it within three days of its premiere boosted the audience to 2.9 million viewers, while DVR users pushed the audience for the fourth episode, “False Confessions,” to 3.1 million viewers over a three-day period.

Is She Back?

Everyone is buzzing about Jesse Metcalfe’s new interview with TV Guide, in which he drops a big hint about you-know-who’s possible return to Southfork. Is this the news “Dallas” diehards have been longing to hear?

Now It Can Be Told

If you’ve read Edward McPherson’s fascinating essay on “Dallas” in the Paris Review, then you know – wait, stop. What do you mean you haven’t read it?

The two-part piece, published in December, traces the evolutions of Dallas the city and “Dallas” the TV show. It pays special attention to the echoes between the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the shooting of J.R. Ewing in 1980, examining how each incident shaped the way people see Dallas and the way Dallasites see themselves. McPherson, who grew up in Big D, will give you a new appreciation for all things Dallas, but don’t take my word for it. Go read Part 1 and Part 2. I’ll wait.

OK, now that you’ve enjoyed McPherson’s piece (I told you it was good, didn’t I?), you know that he spent time last fall on the set of TNT’s “Dallas,” where he got to observe production and meet the cast and crew. He even exchanged a fist bump (!) with Larry Hagman.

McPherson also describes how he helped the folks behind the scenes come up with a few words of dialogue. Now it can be told: The episode McPherson observed being filmed was “False Confessions,” which TNT telecast last week, and the scene that he contributed to is the one where Christopher interrupts John Ross’s conversation with Elena’s drilling foreman, Bubba, played by Matthew Posey. McPherson’s line, which Posey delivered: “But we’ve got a problem.”

“It was a total throwaway line, but fun nonetheless,” McPherson told me last week. He said he’s happy the episode has finally been shown, adding that he was “quite good about keeping the spoilers to myself.”

McPherson also said he’d love to hear what “Dallas” fans think of his essay, so be sure to share your feedback in the comments sections that accompany parts 1 and 2.

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.


  1. McPherson’s article on Dallas is interesting. Really covers a lot of ground–from the city’s humble beginnings up through Ewing Energies. As to a certain “you know who” returning to Dallas (sound a bit like Voldemort, doesn’t it?), I’m skeptical. I guess we’ll see.

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