Drill Bits: After J.R.’s Funeral, ‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Dip

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Ewings Unite!, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Back to normal

“Dallas” lost almost all of the extra viewers it picked up during J.R. Ewing’s funeral last week.

“J.R.’s Masterpiece,” the sendoff for Larry Hagman’s iconic character, was seen by 3.6 million viewers on March 11. It was the TNT drama’s most-watched telecast this year, beating the show’s second-season average by about 1 million viewers.

The latest telecast, “Ewings Unite!,” scored 2.7 million viewers on March 18. This audience included more than 1 million viewers between ages 18 and 49, a demographic that advertisers pay a premium to reach.

A ratings decline was expected. Television series often get a boost from “milestone” episodes, and the death of J.R. – whom Hagman began portraying in 1978 – fit the bill.

Meanwhile, the audience for “J.R.’s Masterpiece” continues to grow. Within a few days of the episode’s March 11 telecast, DVR users had pushed its audience to 4.6 million viewers, a 26 percent increase from the previous week’s episode. When DVR users are counted, “J.R.’s Masterpiece” averaged 1.8 million adults between ages 25 and 54, an audience that TNT targets, and 1.5 million adults between 18 and 49.

TNT has not announced whether it plans to renew “Dallas” for a third season. The cable channel renewed the show for a second season two days after the third telecast.

Austin to Dallas

I haven’t seen next week’s episode of “Dallas,” but I’m calling it now: The highlight will be Lee Majors’ guest appearance as Ken Richards, one of Sue Ellen’s old flames. (Well, that and the return of Audrey Landers as Afton Cooper.)

As regular readers of Dallas Decoder know, “The Six Million Dollar Man” was my other favorite show growing up, so you can imagine how excited I am to have Col. Steve Austin visit “Dallas.” You can also imagine how thrilled I was to interview Majors a few weeks ago. If you haven’t already checked out our chat, please do so.

Derby II

Dallas Divas Derby, a March Madness-style brackets competition that pits the women of “Dallas” against each other, is back for more fun. The most recent round ended earlier this week with victories for Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), who beat Jenna Wade (Priscilla Presley) in a matchup between “The Outsiders,” and Pamela Rebecca Barnes (Julie Gonzalo), who defeated Serena Wald (Stephanie Blackmore) in a showdown between “The Setup Queens.” Voting in the next round will end Monday, March 25.

Drinking Drew

If you’re a fan of Kuno Becker’s performance as Drew Ramos, be sure to check out The Drew, the latest addition to Cook In/Dine Out’s “Dallas Drinks” collection. Like Mr. Becker, this drink is hot stuff!

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


  1. Anonymous says:

    Another great sign that Dallas will get Season 3 — interview with Steve Koonin: http://www.accessatlanta.com/weblogs/radio-tv-talk/2013/mar/13/tv-briefs-jr-ewing-dallas/

  2. The character Drew Ramos is a joke. Follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961

  3. fornicus7237 says:

    Thanks, Chris. Kind of a bummer, though not unexpected. At least people are putting their DVR’s to use.

    Jesse Metcalfe, who seems to be an unofficial spokesperson for the show, or at least the go-to guy for an opinion from the cast, put a positive spin on the ratings slump in a recent article I read. He basically said they aren’t worried and don’t really see a problem. Then again, what is he supposed to say? That the show is on life support and they are all pursuing other gigs?

    Hopefully business picks up, though it’s discouraging that the Dallas product post-1991 can never seem to keep momentum. There was supposed to be a third Dallas movie, but the ratings for “War of the Ewings” were too poor to justify it. Then there was going to be a Dallas theatrical movie that never got off the ground. Then the new TNT series came out of the gate like gangbusters, only for the audience to decline pretty quickly. I have a sad feeling the Season 2 finale has been written to fit the mold of a SERIES finale, just in case they don’t make it back.

Leave a Reply to Chris B. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: