Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Holds On to Some of Its Audience

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Heather, Jesse Metcalfe, TNT, Trust Me

Hold on tighter!

TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode, “Trust Me,” debuted to 1.9 million viewers on March 3, down about 29 percent from the previous week’s third-season premiere. The audience included roughly 500,000 adults between ages 18 and 49, the demographic advertisers pay a premium to reach.

“The show is down but it’s not out — far from it,” says Marc Berman, editor in chief of TV Media Insights, a top industry news site. Once DVR users who record the show and watch it later are counted, “Dallas’s” total audience could rise closer to the 2.5 million to 3 million mark, Berman says.

The show’s third-season premiere, “The Return,” was seen by 2.7 million viewers on February 24, but the audience rose 33 percent — reaching 3.5 million — once DVR users who watched the show within three days were counted. This audience includes 1.4 million adults between ages 18 and 49 and 1.6 million between 25 and 54, a group TNT targets.

Television shows generally lose between 10 and 20 percent of their audience after a series or season premiere. Berman says “Dallas” may have fallen outside the rule of thumb because it faced tougher than usual competition, including the season premiere of A&E’s “Bates Motel,” which drew more than 3 million viewers.

“Dallas’s” decline fits the show’s pattern. Last year, 2.9 million viewers watched the show’s second-season premiere on opening night; 2.2 million viewers returned the following week, a 24 percent drop. In 2012, the series premiere clocked 6.9 million viewers; 4.8 million people tuned in the following week, a 30 percent decline.

Fans shouldn’t be discouraged, Berman says. “The numbers could be better, but they’re not terrible.”

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


  1. Thank you for always putting a positive spin on these horrible ratings. Have you thought about starting a forum area on your website. UltimateDallas.com currently has a forum but everyone on there is so negative and always beating up the show. I would like to interact more with fans who were more positive about the TNT reboot.

  2. I enjoyed last night’s show! I am glad “Dallas” is up against the best.

  3. I liked very much last night’s show. The new season started very well in my opinion. It seems more balanced than the previous one. Actually, it was really fun. I also liked very much Juan Pablo Di Pace as a new addition to the cast. I hope it will go on and that it will get better and better.

  4. I sure hope because of bad ratings in episode 2 that TNT can keep Dallas on the air. Putting it on a different night than Mondays could help benefit the show.

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