Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Takes a Ratings Dip

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lifting the Veil, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Gang’s all here

“Dallas” slipped in the ratings this week: “Lifting the Veil,” the latest episode, was seen by 1.78 million viewers on March 17. This is the TNT drama’s smallest audience yet. There’s a bright spot, however: The show drew 595,000 viewers in the advertiser-prized demographic of adults between ages 18 and 49, up from 512,000 viewers in this category one week earlier.

“Dallas” also continues to get a lift from DVR users who record the show and watch it a few days later. The previous episode, “Playing Chicken,” debuted to 1.99 million viewers on March 10, although when DVR users are counted, the audience increased to 2.7 million viewers. This haul includes 1.1 million adults between ages 25 and 54, a demographic that TNT targets, and 889,000 adults between ages 18 and 49.

“Dallas” is averaging about 2.1 million viewers on Monday nights this winter, down from 2.7 million last year. The show is essentially tied with the crime drama “Perception” as the second most-watched drama on TNT’s winter schedule. Only “Rizzoli & Isles,” which is averaging 3.9 million viewers on Tuesday nights, is more popular.

TNT will pull both “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Perception” from its schedule after tonight and bring them back in June, while “Dallas” will continue to show new episodes until mid-April and then take its long-planned midseason break. The second half of “Dallas’s” third season will begin Monday, August 18, TNT announced last week.

How About Some More Retail Therapy?

Buckle up

Buckle up

Since we told you about the Ewing Oil Company Store last month, the independent online retailer has added several new products, including its most exclusive offering yet: a J.R. belt buckle like the one John Ross inherited on “Dallas” a few episodes ago.

The bronze buckle, which measures 3 inches by 4 inches, features a rope twist border and a flowering field surrounding the “JR” initials. The price: $65.95. Stephen W. Phillips, who owns and operates the store, plans to sell 23 buckles in honor of Ewing 23, the oil field that famously blew up on the original series.

The buckles will ship in the summer, Phillips said. Each one will come with a Ewing Oil stock certificate, a J.R. Ewing business card and a replica of John Ross’s black credit card.

Other recent additions to the store’s inventory: new versions of the J.R. liquor decanters (each one named for one of his mistresses; we’re partial to the “Harwood” model), a Braddock County road sign and a Harris Ryland bake oven.

If the store adds green corsets to its lineup, we’ll let you know.

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


  1. Cool buckle! Oh, and we really need to fill our Harwood J.R. decanter. I wonder what brand of bourbon J.R. would have preferred.

    • During one of my stretches of watching the entire series, I focused on trying to see if I could make out what brand J.R. was drinking. Of course, most of the time, his bourbon came out of a crystal decanter. If it wasn’t a decanter, it was nameless bottle or a fake brand.

      By the way, the first alcoholic beverage I ever tasted was a bourbon and water (the waiter just laughed when I ordered “bourbon and branch” but that didn’t stop me from doing it) from the Palm in downtown Dallas while sitting at the J.R. and Bobby table that was featured in “J.R. Returns”. And, uh, yeah… that was the wrong thing to start out drinking with. It was another year before I had anything else and found something I liked.

      We crazy fans do crazy things. 🙂

  2. Art Kelly says:

    Before the new season, I expressed concern that, without the character of J. R. Ewing, Dallas would be in trouble.

    I thought a new actor should have been hired to replace Larry Hagman. (There are a LOT of good actors who could have effectively continued the J.R. character.)

    I now believe a many people tuned into this season’s premiere to see what Dallas would be like without J. R. Some of them reached a negative conclusion.

    That’s a shame because the subsequent episodes have actually been sort of interesting. If there’s a way of convincing the former Dallas fans to give the show another chance, it might still catch on.

  3. Jennifer Irons says:

    First of all, when is Art Kelly going to understand that NO ONE but Larry could ever have played JR and NO ONE can replace LH! Larry wanted JR killed off, I believe! Second, the four month break until part 2 of Season 3 is certainly going to do more harm than good in terms of the ratings!

    • Art Kelly says:

      The absence of the J. R. Ewing character may explain the decline in the ratings. A new actor playing that role might have kept the ratings at a higher level.

      Since that didn’t happen, the fate of the show beyond this season is clearly in doubt.

      But the last three episodes were definite improvements over the season premiere, so perhaps the fans of Dallas who have stopped watching may eventually come back.

  4. Auric007 says:

    Last night there was a lot of competition with dancing with the stars premiering and other shows like the voice still out there. The network has to realize it. The show is building and getting better and sexier than ever. I for one don’t understand why the big hiatus and why such a short season? 15 episodes is like nothing and not a lot of time to get story lines the full amount of time to build that they deserve, so it feels rushed sometimes.

  5. Garnet McGee says:

    I think the Dallas brand name works against the show sometimes. When mentioning it to my Downton Abbey, Breaking Bad or Mad Men loving friends they all assume it is an over the top soapy melodrama. They see Dallas as something uncool. I try to explain that the new show is current, hip, diverse, fast paced and clever. It is difficult for them to believe. Others assume the show stopped when Larry died. This is a really fun show that should be gaining audience members instead of losing them.

  6. I get constant grief when I express my appreciation of “Dallas.” I do not care. Then I hear all this crap about walking dead, mad men, house of cards, or another dumb reality show. I do not care about these shows. People that put down my show and at the same time express their interest, knowledge, and appreciation of the shows they enjoy.

    So my rule is this – I will listen to you blab about “Girls” and how it is so damn groundbreaking and prolific and how some person involved wit the show was naked on SNL, if you listen to me talk about how f-ing cool Sue Ellen is. I will sympathize with you when you tell me that Tanya Harding should not have been voted off of Dancing with the Stars, if you listen to me talk about how much Larry Hagman and the Character J.R. Ewing meant to me. I will listen to you talk about “vampire Bill” if you listen to me talk about Cliff Barnes.

    I really like Season 3 of Dallas and I will not tell these same haters “I told you so!” When people start to steadily jump on to the “Dallas Bandwagon” the only thing I have to say is “WELCOME ABOARD!”

  7. Todd1209 says:

    alot of cable shows take a hiatus though waiting till August seems alittle long to me.. that being said, i think Dallas will do better in the summer anyway and probably shouldve stayed a summer series. TNT has kept Perception on tv even though the ratings arent huge either so im not sure they are ready to give up on Dallas.. while we are talking about ratings, Dallas does alot better when the live+3’s are figured in. the CW and Fox have shows that arent much better than Dallas’ and theyre broadcast tv. ive loved season 3 so far with the exception of the Judith snorting coke scene – that was just too much for me. my only complaint with the TNT series is the Ramos family…i dont care about them at all…the show’s core has always been about the Ewing and Barnes families but the Ramos family is being played as the new family enemy and i just think they are BORING!!! the Rylands are interesting and have a family link through Anne/Emma so it makes sense.

  8. Buckle up C.B. & Andrew!


  1. […] is the second consecutive week “Dallas” has raised its ratings since March 17, when “Lifting the Veil” dipped to 1.78 million viewers, a series […]

Leave a Reply to Auric007 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: