Drill Bits: TNT Renews ‘Dallas’ for Season 3

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Guilt by Association, Harris Ryland, Ken Kercheval, Mitch Pileggi, TNT

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Giddy up! “Dallas” will return early next year with 15 new episodes, TNT announced yesterday.

Fans have been anxious about the show’s future since last fall, when Larry Hagman died while filming the second season. When TNT began televising the episodes in January, ratings dipped amid tough competition from the broadcast networks.

Michael Wright, programming chief for TNT and its sister channels, acknowledged Hagman’s death in yesterday’s news release. “‘Dallas’ has many more stories left to tell, and the Ewing clan will continue to honor J.R.’s memory by keeping its audience surprised and delighted,” Wright said. He also praised the show’s “passionately loyal following” and its “expertly woven storylines, clever twists and turns, and numerous outstanding performances.”

Indeed, “Dallas” hit its creative stride in the second season, which was shown on Monday nights opposite hits like NBC’s “The Voice” and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” “Dallas” averaged 2.7 million viewers, although the audience climbed to 3.8 million when DVR users who record the show and watch it within seven days are counted. The weekly haul includes 1.6 million adults between ages 25 and 54, a demographic that TNT targets, and 1.4 million between 18 and 49, another crucial group in TV ad sales.

“Dallas’s” first season averaged 4.5 million viewers on Wednesday nights last summer, when the broadcasters are in rerun mode. The first-season audience soared to 6.1 million viewers with DVR playback.

Even with softer numbers in the winter and spring, “Dallas” is TNT’s most-watched series so far this year. By bringing the show back in early 2014, the cable channel seems to be continuing its strategy to become more competitive year-round, building on the success it enjoys with its summertime lineup of popular police dramas like “Major Crimes” and “Rizzoli & Isles.”

Economics were also likely a factor in “Dallas’s” renewal. The series is filmed in Texas, and as the Dallas Morning News pointed out yesterday, the real-life Dallas City Hall helps cover production costs. The cast and crew are expected to begin shooting the third season in early fall, the Morning News reported.

In recent interviews, “Dallas” executive producer Cynthia Cidre has dropped hints about the show’s third-season storylines, including the possibility that John Ross might build his own home on Southfork and that Ann’s brother might be introduced. Yesterday’s news release mentions the show’s 10 regular cast members, a signal they’ll all return for Season 3. Also mentioned: Ken Kercheval, whose character Cliff was jailed in the season finale.

Season 3 Wish List

What do you want to see during “Dallas’s” third season? Let’s discuss your wish list during Dallas Decoder’s next Twitter chat this Monday, May 6, from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

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

Comments

  1. Dallas did indeed hit its creative string in season 2. The obvious challenges as a result of the passing of Larry Hagman during the production of season 2 were overcome.Ken Kercheval better be part of season 3! I am certain there will be a great amount of interest and curiosity in wondering if there can “Dallas”without J.R. Ewing. Can Cynthia Cidre, the writers, the directors, the actors, actresses, and everyone else that is involved with making season 3 make something great? Season 3, in my opinion, will be one of the most important. If season 3 does great, we should be able to expect 13 to 20 hours of new “Dallas” for a couple more years!

  2. Brandon Childers says:

    I am so happy. I love Dallas.

    Wish list is more of the Ewings uniting I like those stories better than Christopher and John Ross going at it. John Ross and Pamela have a son named John Ross Ewing IV

    • Brandon, I agree: I like John Ross and Christopher better as allies than enemies, although I suspect we’ll need the characters to be in conflict in order to generate drama.

  3. im very happy to hear this news!! in season 3: id like to know what is Lucy’s story – even if they dont wanna make her a regular id like an explanation of what shes been up to and if she has any kids etc…also id like to know whats going on with Ray and his family – why is he in Dallas without them? these dont have to be central plot lines but even brief updates would be nice.. i personally think they missed the boat when they made Emma Anns daughter instead of saying she was Lucys as far as other wishes,i hope Judith returns and that Gary and Val come back… and i think Katherine coming back would be AWESOME!!!

    • Todd, I agree. I think it would be great if the show answered some of the questions about Lucy and Ray. And yes to more Gay and Val and bringing back Katherine!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was disappointed that John Ross was catting around with Emma but I suppose that is in his nature. I want him to realize how much he loves Pamela Rebecca. My secret wish is that Pam and Chris have a one night stand that results in a baby for them.

  5. I’d like to see Katherine Wentworth return too and be more evil than ever and the show needs to make Cliff a regular. Also they should bring back James Richard and have us meet Cally and J.R’s child that he was unaware that they had together.

  6. I liked that Dallas had Ted Shackleford and Joan Van Ark from Knots Landing
    be on the show. Dallas needs to make them regulars along with introducing the
    other Ewing children, the twins Bobby and Betsy? younger siblings to Lucy.
    With so many Dallas regulars its hard to have everyone, but the show is leaving
    out some. Keep Gary and Val and this family included in Dallas.

    • I’d love to see Gary and Val featured prominently on the new “Dallas.” Not sure the show is legally permitted to use Betsy and Bobby; from what I understand, any character who existed on the original “Dallas” is fair game for the new show, but Betsy and Bobby were created on “Knots Landing,” rendering them ineligible. Otherwise, I say bring ’em on!

Trackbacks

  1. […] on tap, including two that will roll out in “early 2014,” when “Dallas” will begin its third season: “Life Flight,” which follows air-ambulance crews, and “Nashville Confidential,” a […]

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