‘Dallas’s’ Renewal Likely Depends on the Summer Ratings

Dallas, Josh Henderson, Linda Gray, Michael Wright, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Michael Wright and the “Dallas” cast last week. (Getty Images)

“Dallas” could fit nicely with TNT’s new strategy to draw younger viewers by airing edgier programming, but the show’s future depends mostly on the strength of its ratings, industry observers say.

For years, TNT focused on shows that appeal to older audiences, such as “Major Crimes” and “Rizzoli & Isles.” Last week, the cable network’s executives said they’re shifting strategy because advertisers are increasingly interested in series like AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad,” which generate media buzz and draw younger consumers.

“To help draw more advertising dollars, having a breakout, buzz-worthy show is key. ‘Dallas’ is probably the closest [TNT has] to that now,” said David Campanelli, senior vice president and director for national broadcast at media-buying firm Horizon Media.

“Dallas” boasts TNT’s biggest presence on social media, with 1.6 million Facebook fans and 89,000 Twitter followers, but the show has struggled where it matters most: the ratings. “Dallas” is averaging 1.9 million viewers on Mondays this season, down about 25 percent from last year.

The series is on hiatus until mid-August, when its third season will resume. TNT has not announced if “Dallas” will return next year or a timetable for making a decision; the conventional wisdom is the network will wait to see how the show performs during the summer run before deciding whether to renew it.

Campanelli’s take: “Renewal will depend on strength of ratings, because it still is on strategy. But the audience still needs to show up.”

“Dallas” averaged 4.2 million viewers when TNT aired the first season during the summer of 2012. The show has since lost longtime star Larry Hagman, who died during the middle of production on Season 2, and moved to TNT’s winter schedule, where the competition is tougher.

Overall, TNT’s prime-time audience has declined 13 percent during the past five years, from 2.2 million to 1.9 million viewers.

Last week, the network pitched advertisers on the shows it’s developing for next season, including time-travel drama “Fix-It Men” and “The Shop,” a sequel to Stephen King’s “Firestarter.” TNT also unveiled a new slogan: “Boom,” which programming chief Michael Wright said is meant to evoke the network’s new emphasis on surprising storytelling.

“Dallas” cast members Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Josh Henderson were among the TNT stars who attended the network’s presentation to advertisers. This could be a sign the network sees a future for the show, said Marc Berman, editor of the industry news site TV Media Insights. “I’m still hopeful it will be renewed,” he said.

Will you watch “Dallas” this summer? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

Comments

  1. I am on the fence. I have been very disappointed in this season. Poor character development and motivation that is unclear or makes no sense. (ie Elena’s plot and Ann’s attitude toward Harris). Crazy plots like Harris being CIA and his mother a Madame and the cartel. It has gotten away from being about the Ewings and instead it’s about these characters we neither know nor care about. At least I don’t. But a part of me wants to see what happens. I just hope at some point some if what’s happened will make sense.

  2. Andy Mac says:

    I will 100% be watching this summer with bourbon in hand. Thought first part of season 3 was great and loved the cliffhanger! Dallas should definitely be renewed!

  3. As I said during the first season “JUST MAKE A GOOD SHOW!” Do not focus on “Walking Dead” or “Mad Men” just focus 100% on “DALLAS!!!”

    I think the best way to move forward is to look at WHY the original Dallas was so successful year after year. I do not see how looking at some show about drunks smoking cigarettes or monsters will improve the show one bit. People want to be entertained.

  4. Garnet McGee says:

    Have they already sold the advertising for the second half of the season? I too wish they would focus on core characters. I wonder how much of the storytelling in season 3 was influenced by the new direction TNT wants to take their network? They want younger male viewers. I don’t think the wishes of the long time Dallas fans would bring in younger viewers. Maybe that is why we are seeing more action oriented, male-centric plots.

  5. Sherrie says:

    I will be watching on my ipad. I don’t have cable so I bought the season from Itunes so I didn’t miss it.

  6. James P says:

    Huge Dallas fan and have been since the 80’s. Here’s the problem. The Producers of the show lack an understanding of what it means to be a Dallas fan. Perhaps they should take a lesson from Paramount and The Star Trek Universe. Although not perfect, Paramount has largely listened and relied on Fan input for decades. They respect their fan base and the interconnecting storylines and characters. The New Dallas Producers do not. Dallas is an Epic TV show that should interweave plot lines and characters from the past and propel it into its current state. They have ignored fan suggestions regarding the return of original characters (and instead give us embarrassing cheap 1 minute cameos). They have ignored the fact that there are plot lines from the original show that still need to be resolved (ie: Bobby’s son Lucas, JR’s other son etc etc) . They also treated the Pam Ewing character with total disrespect in Season 2. Instead, we are given ridiculous Mexican Mafia plot lines and a handful of uninteresting new characters. I’m all for new, and realize its 2014, but its about interweaving the new while Not ignoring the original stuff. The original Dallas did well because it did just that.. and always remained grounded in bringing back familiar faces with wonderful new storylines and new characters every season.

  7. I agree with James P. I am also a huge fan of the show and will watch every season until they pull the plug. I think that TNT’s making a mistake by trying to target just the younger audience since the original fanbase is mostly people who fell in love with the show during the 80s. I like S3 so far but there are times when I wonder if I am watching a telenovela or Dallas. The hispanic influence is a bit too much for the show and doesn’t really fit in. Also, I wish they would focus more on the older characters and bring back as many characters as possible. I am shocked that they didn’t bring back Punk Anderson (Morgan Woodward) for the Barbeque episode at Southfork. The guy’s a legend.
    I don’t really like how the interior of the house is laid out. Also I miss seeing the family at breakfast and dinner like the old series. They should bring that back too.
    I am looking forward to the second half of the season and I hope that it gets renewed. I wish the producers would listen a little more to the long time, die hard fans.

    • Totally agree with HC and James P. I was excited to see this show “return” and wasn’t sure it could survive without JR, but I still enjoy and look forward to watching on DVR. I can’ t handle the commercials so I wait until it’s done recording to watch! 🙂 Judith Light is so damned good..

  8. Melissa says:

    I will definatly be watching I have been watching the show since I was little with the orginal cast and I loved it then and I love it now. I just love how they keep making sure to mention JR here and there it is as if he never left.

  9. I’m with HC, I will watch this thing until they pull the plug and forcefully roll my recliner (with me in it) away from the TV…”Dallas” has been my favorite show since I was 8 years old watching on Friday nights with the family in the 80’S. I’ve said this many times before, but I think that TNT has done poorly with Dallas. I think the season 1 ratings made TNT think they had something bigger than they actually had, and their decision to air it in Primetime on Monday nights has hurt. Listen folks, Dallas will not and can not be what it was in 1985, and the reason is very simple, it’s no longer 1985. Cable TV has exploded and the options now versus back then are times 100.

    The article Chris posted is very accurate, Dallas is probably the only show (maybe Falling Skies) that TNT has that fits the new audience they want. W

    • Sorry…it’s 5am…I do see where Cidre has attempted to gap the two shows (Dallas1 Dallas2) together. For example, the scene with Carter McKay’s grandson I thought was quite smart, but the cameos have to go. It’s actually ignorant of Cidre to think that she can answer fan demand with that crap. My favorite character from the original was Ray. I actually thought that once Larry passed away it was the perfect opportunity to bring Ray back in, or even Gary…Bobby needs that other brother to bounce off of. Now it’s Bobby going to war with kids, which is odd…because I always thought this show was about the battles between the sons (John Ross and Christopher). I think, and not because it’s my favorite show, but I think Dallas can be GOLD in this time period. They have the young and sexy stars, they have the older cast to satisfy us veteran Dallas fans. If I’m the new leadership at TNT, my plan would be this…I would pull Cidre (and staff) in, I would also pull Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, and Ken Kerchevel in also. I do the following…”we are going to finish out Season 3, I imagine the ratings will climb some over the summer. Beyond that, we are going to assure you of 1 more season. You need to find a way to satisfy the loyal fans while finding new/younger ones. I would also agree to bring the show back in the summer, and would avoid the fall/winter slot entirely. TNT has to do whatever they can to pull more live viewers. I do believe the new leadership will give Dallas 1 more season, it’s in their best interest…as long as the summer ratings for season 3 don’t tank.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I WILL WATCH DALLAS FOREVER. IT IS MY FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOW “EVER”. WHEN THE ORIGINAL DALLAS ENDED, I WAS LOST. I TRULY CANNOT EXPLAIN HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS SHOW. PLEASE CONTINUE DALLAS FOR MANY YEARS, AND MAKE ME AND MANY OTHER FANS THE HAPPIEST FANS OF EARTH.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait. I am in front of the t.v. every Monday night at 9. Please don’t cancel!!

  12. Anonymous says:

    J R may be dead, but his son lives on and doing a great job of scheming. The show is great and will be missed if not put back on TV. There are a lit of us older forks that watches Dallas!!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I can not wait to come back on

  14. hardrockfootballfanatic says:

    I really think the show needs a different night if it is going to air other than summers. I like the new Dallas but I think it needs to do a few different things. Obviously it is going to be edgy to please TNT, so things like the three-some are going to have to be accepted. But I think they need something like bring Katherine back, give Ray a storyline, etc. They have to balance the new with the old a little bit more and not just use the older characters in a cameo role. When you have one of them on there, give them something to do.

  15. I don’t know why Year IV isn’t already being filmed!

  16. Vida Turner-Thibault says:

    Bring it back, please.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cynthia Cidre has taken a television show legend like Dallas into the trash dumpster with the brothel (Madam Ryland), threesome and drug-focused storylines. TNT has a goldmine of an entertainment property like Dallas with a built-in, loyal fanbase, and they are wasting it on bad writing.

    The Southfork set is NOT Southfork. It is not the authentic layout from the original series, which makes this new Dallas seem unbelievable.

    Bringing back classic characters like Val, Gary, Lucy and Ray for cheap, blink-and-you-miss cameos is insulting to both the actors and the audience. It is insulting to the Dallas brand, which reflects on TNT, Cidre and all involved in the production.

    Dallas deserves a season 4, but get rid of the trash, Cidre. It’s also time to bring back more classic characters, good storytelling and “sunset” some of the boring new characters like the Ramos family. They add nothing to the show. Dallas should be about the Ewing family, and it would be nice to have more of a moral center and happy times instead of EVERY character backstabbing and having a hidden agenda.

    • Anonymous says:

      totally agree with you, CC has destroyed the reputation of Dallas
      its dire and i no longer care about it.

      Its embarrasing to watch now and an insult to the original
      I hope it ends and soon

  18. I completely agree with Anonymous. Especially about there being a moral center. I thought that would be Ann and Bobby but you can’t have that when they keep secrets from each other and Bobby breaks the law in framing Cliff. I don’t get CIdre when she makes comments like “my heart is with Ann and Bobby” when asked about Jenna Wade returning and then she basically degrades them as a couple by two and half seasons in. I think they’ve been taken to a place that will be hard to come back from.

    I would also like to see more original characters like Ray and Lucy as more regulars and not useless cameos. But Cidre seems intent on making her mark with her own characters (i.e. the Rylands and Ramoses). While Harris and Judith are amusing the Ramoses are boring and add nothing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I liked Ray and Lucy also but Ray is no longer a good looking 35 and Lucy isn’t 21. The producers have to concentrate on younger, good looking people to get the crowd they want.

  19. Darn right I’m watching Dallas this summer. In my opinion, TNT should’ve aired Dallas in the summer instead of the winter months.

  20. EVERYONE needs to write to TNT Michael Wright and ask for a 4th season and ask to get back to the original Dallas themes and storylines. Ewing Oil, the Ewing’s not the Ramos and Mexico. Write to him at the following email:
    Michael.Wright@turner.com

    • I am no longer working at Turner and this email address is no longer in operation. You can reach me at mwright115@gmail.com until I officially begin working at DreamWorks. My assistant Melinda will be at Turner for the next few weeks, and if needed, she can direct you to the appropriate contact for any Turner-related business. You can reach her at “melinda.dehaven@turner.com” or
      818-729-7373.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Love the show and the original ! Keep it coming! There can only be so many cop shows. Texas rules ! Go Cowboys !

  22. dallas was good the first 2 seasons,without larry hagman the show is in decline and should not be renewed end it with season 3 and go out with a bang

  23. Ray Watters says:

    Dallas may have declined a bit in viewer numbers due to Larry Hagman’s passing, however, the writers have done a great job in character development and it is clear this show is a winner! Looking forward to seeing Seasons 4 and more!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Get read of Elena and the Ramos. Liked Jordana B. on the Fast and Furious, but hate here character in this show now…

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully they will give the lovely Emma Bell more lines for the second half. She brings the sex appeal that seemed to be missing from the show since Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepherd) departed

  26. I will be watching every Monday and will be very upset if it is canceled!!!!!!

  27. should have left well enough alone and ended the series with Season 2 finale. Nothing could top that!

  28. DALLAS is the only current TV show I even watch. I have NO interest in stupid reality TV and other shows have no appeal to me. I grew up on Dallas, and it’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I hope this series continues for a long time.

  29. When did young males become the go-to demographic? I thought young females were the advertisers’ prize. That’s what ruined most of the great daytime soaps. They fired great writers and actors who weren’t appealing to girls. What makes older people so undesirable as viewers?? They’re more likely to sit through commercials. They have more money right now than all the college grads in debt to their eyeballs. Why can’t there be a network that sees that older people can be worthy of good television? Do we really not buy anything?

    If they want Dallas to be another Breaking Bad, that’s fine. Breaking Bad had plenty of mature (aged) characters that appealed to mature people. It was also a full-blown soap opera, like the original Dallas. What made BB so good was it blended all the great elements of classic soap opera storytelling. It had intriguing mystery, over-the-top cliffhangers, long, drawn out melodramatic scenes, and long-awaited confrontations that richly rewarded the audience. So did the hugely successful original Dallas.

    There are times I absolutely love the new Dallas. Last night’s episode contained those long-awaited confrontations soap fans love. The season 2 finale was another example of great soap opera, with the fall of Cliff Barnes (something viewers have been awaiting since the 80s), and the excellently written revelation of who killed J.R. Those episodes are what attract viewers. Those scenes and stories reward people, the same as Breaking Bad episodes that rewarded viewers for investing so much time.

    If TNT wants to make Dallas another Breaking Bad in terms of how well it crafted plot and characters, I’m all for it. Breaking Bad was the best soap opera to come along in twenty years.

  30. The 2nd half of season 3 is much improved. Greater semblance in the storylines and all the “surprises” are appropriate and not outlandish. And it’s doing an especially good job in keeping with the original show’s historical context. Linda Gray, Josh Henderson, and Judith Light are standouts and it’s nice to see Patrick Duffy making a bit of a U-turn, allowing for further character development.

    If DALLAS is canceled, then I will stop watching television altogether. People’s attention spans and moronic idols are reflected in some ultra lousy programming. We’ve really devolved.

  31. HUGE DALLAS FANATIC! If it ran another 13 seasons like the original did (NOT counting the original miniseries as a “season” of Dallas) — PLEASE keep Dallas going for many seasons to come!

  32. I LOVE Dallas. My husband and I NEVER miss it. We are Seniors who have watched Dallas since it started in the 70s. It just keeps getting better. PLEASE RENEW. ITS GREAT!

  33. Love the show but I’m not a fan of the Ramos family storyline-I don’t care about Elena
    Judith Light is fantastic and a great villain

  34. The problem with TV nowadays is no one now understands TV shows from the 80’s. they’re to concerned about reality or cooking shows, some redundant cop or lawyer show what I enjoy most about Dallas is that the legacy still has bite you still have the power struggle and some of the core characters not some one getting drunk sleeping around with every person on the show and then everyone turning one another for cash it’s not interesting or necessary who cares about the great recipe I can read a recipe book I don’t need a show to tell me how bring Dallas back its never boring and something unexpected happens we know what happens on the other shows its not what I watch and please some take the bi polar professor off the air now that would be wonderful.

  35. The network wants to increase younger audience viewers but they put it up against the Batchelor? Putting ankle weights on a stronger runner will hurt their performance numbers!

  36. Yes…I am a huge Dallas fan. I definitely want the show to be renewed.

  37. I find it hilarious that people here are worried about the ‘moral character’ of a TV show sullying the reputation of the city of Dallas! I bet you watch The Bachelor. (A true example of morality and the sanctity of marriage) Dallas is a blast to watch! TNT didn’t promote it much and I think that is what has hurt the ratings. I will be watching until the bitter end. SEASON 4 PLEASE!

  38. Please TNT, renew Dallas! It is currently, one of the best shows on t.v. I am unhappy that a decision was made to kill off my favorite character, Chistopher, but i am still a true and loyal fan, and will continue to watch the show and support it.

  39. Andy Valencia says:

    This was a great drama series. It would’ve helped if the show wasn’t on a night that competed with pro sports such as basketball and of course going head to head with Monday Night Football.

    Tuesday or Wednesday nights would’ve been better and probably better during the late Winter and mid-Summer vice the Fall and Spring.

  40. June Pettie says:

    I am 90 years old and a huge fan of Dallas. I loved it way back then and I love it now. Please please don’t take it off the air!!!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] with this: Will the series return for a fourth year? We probably won’t know the answer until the ratings for the summer episodes come in, but virtually everything else we’ve been obsessing over will be […]

  2. […] has not announced if “Dallas” will return next year or a timetable for making a decision. The conventional wisdom is the network will wait to see how the show performs during its late summer run before deciding […]

  3. […] matters because TNT hasn’t announced if “Dallas” will return next year. The conventional wisdom is the network will wait to see how the show performs during its summer run before deciding whether […]

  4. […] hasn’t announced if “Dallas” will return next year. The network is expected to wait to see how the show performs during its summer run before deciding whether to renew […]

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