If TNT Wants Younger Viewers, Look No Further Than ‘Dallas’

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Young love


To: Jeff Bewkes, chairman and chief executive officer, Time Warner Inc.

From: Dallas Decoder

Re: “Dallas”

So TNT wants to start chasing younger viewers, huh?

That’s what you told investors yesterday, and it sounds like a smart plan to me. As you pointed out, TNT traditionally targets somewhat older audiences — a strategy that served the cable channel well for a long time, but not so much these days.

The numbers tell the tale: According to the Los Angeles Times, TNT’s prime time audience has declined 13 percent during the past five years, from 2.2 million to 1.9 million viewers, while the median age has gone up, from 47 to 52 years.

So yeah, I see why you think it’s time for a new strategy.

The good news is your lineup includes “Dallas,” a show that could become a cornerstone in your plans to rebuild TNT.

Yes, it’s true “Dallas’s” ratings are down: The show averaged 2.7 million viewers last season, including roughly 958,000 adults between ages 18 and 49, the demographic often used to gauge a show’s youth appeal. This year, “Dallas” is averaging 1.9 million viewers, including roughly 630,000 18-to-49-year-olds.

But here’s the thing: Even though “Dallas’s” numbers have dipped, it still performs pretty well when compared to TNT’s other original dramas — especially where the younger crowd is concerned. For example, this winter, “Rizzoli & Isles” averaged about 952,000 adults between ages 18 and 49, while “Perception” grabbed approximately 574,000 viewers in this category.

Also, all the shows boost their audiences when you add DVR users who record the programs and watch them later in the week. Sometimes, the increase is dramatic: Thanks to DVR users, “Dallas’s” season premiere hit 1.4 million 18-to-49-year-olds, while the midseason cliffhanger snagged 1 million viewers in the demo.

There’s also this: “Dallas” is TNT’s biggest show on social media — and we all know how the kids love to post, tweet and share these days. “Dallas’s” official Facebook page has 1.6 million “likes,” while the show’s Twitter feed has 89,000 followers. By comparison, “Major Crimes,” TNT’s most-watched show, has 491,000 Facebook likes and 12,500 Twitter followers.

You also told investors you think TNT’s programming should be a little edgier. Well, my goodness, did you see “Dallas’s” midseason finale? It wasn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it sure got people talking.

I guess it all comes down to this, Mr. Bewkes: As the head honcho at Time Warner — the conglomerate that owns TNT, the channel that televises “Dallas,” and Warner Bros., the studio that produces it — the show’s future rests in your hands.

And since you’re a smart fellow, surely you can you see how “Dallas” can serve as your bridge to the younger, media-savvy viewers you’ve set your sights on. It’s one more reason this show deserves a fourth season.

A word of caution, though: Just because TNT is going to start chasing younger viewers, don’t get any wacky ideas about sidelining “Dallas’s” veterans. This show has always had multi-generational appeal, and even though fans love the new generation of buff, young Ewings running around Southfork these days, we still want longtime favorites like Bobby and Sue Ellen to get plenty of screen time.

In other words: Mess with Miss Texas and you’ll receive a much different memo from Dallas Decoder.

Why do you think TNT should renew “Dallas”? Share your comments below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.


  1. Jennifer Irons says:

    DD, this is a FANTASTIC memo to Time Warner; great job! And I totally agree with you that Dallas TNT should not put Patrick/Bobby and Linda/Sue Ellen off to the side to focus more on the younger cast. We need our veteran actors just as much as the younger actors, especially in light of the sad loss of our beloved Larry/JR! Well written memo, DD!

    • yes i think you need to keep Boby and sue Ellen in the script for often.they are all the one that got the public to start watching Dallas again.and t keep the older generation and the new ones to watch Dallas.you will loss all of the older Dallas generation viewers to stop watching it.so think Realy hard about it .stop being so Stupped.and realize what yous are doing.i have to say i have hardly ever watched TNTtill Dallas started up.and i will stop watching that network.again.sadly to say.we all do agree to one thing people love watching dallas but ratings could never be that great cause many people Dont have cable so they can not ever watch Dallas or other shows.when Dallas was decided to be rebooted.it should have been put on a local network.and i would the the ratings would go through the roof. so please if who ever reads this to pass it along to TNT producers.I Think this is a good reason to do a season 4.

  2. garnet mcgee says:

    I hope their quest for younger edgier programming doesn’t prompt them to ditch Dallas. Is this statement a bad omen? If they do renew the show you can bet they won’t be bringing back Ray or Gary or referring to the past in upcoming stories. The biggest complainers about the threesome seem to be older viewers and don’t seem to understand that Dallas is not competing in the ratings with the original.

  3. sunnycd says:

    I hope you sent this memo!

  4. It was exciting to read this!

  5. I only want to “mess around” with Miss Texas in the boudoir C.B.! Think of the sexu8al positions that ex & late Husband J.R. must have taught her!

  6. Great info, Chris! lol

    I Really hope the new leadership at TNT will see that Dallas has the opportunity to grow it’s appeal. I suppose with the shift in leadership…that would push back the decision on DALLAS season 4. I have a hard time believing they would make a call on the show before the 2nd half of season 3 kicks in.

  7. Valerie says:

    I love the mix of young and old. I truly think if you get one of Bobby’s old flames back it will get the older crowd back especially Victoria Principal! My husband and I LOVE the show please keep it on!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Get Victoria Principal back and ratings will go thru the roof she needs to come back bring back Pam

  9. RENEW DALLAS TNT for a 4th SEASON!!!!! I, along with millions of fans have watched this show since 1978-1991 & now, 2012-present!! There is no other show on TNT nor on TV period, that has this kind of following & fans!. We love this show & demand it stay on TNT!!! You have a jewel in your midst, keep it polished & it will shine! Executives, please listen to the fans of DALLAS TNT, you wont be sorry!


  1. […] boasts TNT’s biggest presence on social media, with 1.6 million Facebook fans and 89,000 Twitter […]

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