The Dallas Decoder Interview: Linda Gray

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Save Dallas, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Forever Sue Ellen

TNT has canceled “Dallas,” but don’t tell Linda Gray the show is over. I was honored to speak to her today about the #SaveDallas campaign.

Fans are so upset that “Dallas” has been cancelled. What happened?

It’s challenging to even describe what happened. We lost our two biggest cheerleaders when Steve Koonin and Michael Wright [the top executives in charge of TNT’s programming] left their positions. Meanwhile, we were left wondering if we were going to get picked up or not. We were kept waiting for someone to come in, and then when that person or persons were put into place, we were kept waiting to find out if they liked us or not. [Laughs] And then they decided, “Nope, we don’t want ‘Dallas.’”

How did you hear the news?

Our producers, Cynthia [Cidre] and Mike [Robin], called us on Friday afternoon. When you look at your phone and you see that both of your producers are on the line, it’s either good news or not so good news. [Laughs] This was not such good news.

What did they tell you?

Cynthia and Mike both said, “We haven’t given up. We’re going to see if another network wants us.” But the beauty of this has been the fans. The whole #SaveDallas campaign has been a huge revelation to me. It’s been so lovely. I’m very, very grateful for that. There’s been such an outpouring of love.

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Save Dallas, TNT

Never give up

I was saddened when I heard about the cancellation on Friday, but then I saw your tweets on Saturday and I thought, “There’s hope!”

Always, Chris. Always! There’s always hope. [Laughs] I flashed back to the original series. In the beginning, CBS had us on Saturday night. We didn’t do so well there. And then they put us on Sunday night. We didn’t do so well there either. But then they put us on Friday night and we took off! CBS loved us. They nurtured us. [The new series] hasn’t been nurtured. We were on opposite “The Voice,” the Emmys, “Monday Night Football.”

You had one of the toughest time slots in television.

Yes, but this isn’t bah humbug. I’m not bashing TNT — not at all. I just feel like what happens with corporate executives is they see numbers — and that’s it. That’s what they do, and God bless them. But there are also a lot of people who want to be entertained, and this cast loved entertaining the audience.

“Dallas” is a special show. I loved the original series, and I love this one too. They’re different, but I love them both.

They should be different. Times are different.

So what do you think are the chances of saving “Dallas”?

Personally, I think they’re great. It’s a built-in brand. It comes with publicity you can’t buy, and it’s lasted a long time. And we want to be with people who care about us and don’t just look at the bottom line. This show deserves a fair shot. We need another shot. And if TNT doesn’t do it, we hope another network will pick us up. Other shows have done that. It does happen. And if it’s meant to happen here, it will.

#SaveDallas, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Save Dallas, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Team Ewing

The fans really appreciate the encouragement you and Patrick [Duffy] have given us.

Patrick said over the weekend he’s not done with Bobby Ewing. And amen to that, I say. I ain’t done with Sue Ellen Ewing either! [Laughs] When we spoke to Cynthia, she’s got the first script for Season 4 written — and I think a lot of good stuff is going to happen. The cast doesn’t know what it will be, but we want to get our little fingers on it and find out.

Is it official that Warner Bros. [the studio that produces “Dallas”] is going to shop the show around to other outlets?

I don’t know, but at least there’s buzz out there. I was at a function last night and [CBS chief executive] Les Moonves was there and he told me he’s been inundated with emails from fans who want him to pick it up. He was just smiling and said, “You wouldn’t believe the emails I’ve gotten.” I smiled right back and said, “Great!” [Laughs] The fans are not afraid at all. It’s not, “Oh, how do I get in touch with the head of CBS?” They just do it! They slammed the switchboards at TNT. They shut them down!

Maybe TNT will reverse its decision. I’ve been encouraging fans to be positive when they tweet at the studio and the network.

Exactly. TNT may say, “Oh, we made a mistake. We weren’t thinking. We’ve now come to our senses.” I encourage the fans to be positive too.

So what would Larry Hagman think of all this?

Oh God, he’d be furious. I’ve seen him mad. [Laughs] He’d hit them hard and it would be with humor, but he would be very honest and forthright. He’d probably say something similar to what Patrick said: “J.R.’s not finished yet.” That’s how we all feel.

He’d be right too. J.R. will never be finished! I love how the show honors him.

I think that’s why Season 3 has been so special. We were all kind of fumbling around after he died, but this season, everybody thought, “Pull up the boot straps. Get back on that horse and do it.” Patrick and I have discussed this. Everyone was shining this season — the cast, the writers, everyone. The original show had a small cast, and you got to know every character intimately. Sometimes when shows are brand new, they’re long and shallow, but they don’t go deep. In Season 3, I think, we went deep.

You were pleased with Sue Ellen’s direction this year?

I was very happy with what they did with Sue Ellen this season. You know, I cringed when she started drinking again. I thought, “My gosh, here we go again. Haven’t I done that before? Didn’t I do it well?” [Laughs] But I felt this time, it was handled very well. And I thought the scenes with Josh [Henderson] were wonderful. He really hit his stride this season.

#SaveDallas, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Scene of the season

The scene where John Ross screams, “I am not my father!” is my favorite moment of the season.

Here’s the backstory on that: It was shot at night. It was the end of the day. So Josh and I were in a back bedroom in Sue Ellen’s home while they were doing the lighting and setting up. And we were like two caged animals. We didn’t speak. We didn’t talk.

Interesting.

He’s usually tweeting and carrying on. “Hey, Mama. How you doing?” But this time, I sat in my chair and went over my lines in my head and we never spoke. I mean, we didn’t plan it that way. It wasn’t like, “Oh, we’re not talking.” And then when we came out [to shoot the scene], man, you could feel it. The crew was very quiet. They knew it was an emotional scene. It was hard, and it was intense. It was something else. It was just amazing. That’s why it was so good. You went deep with Josh’s character. You went deep with Sue Ellen. She was blaming everybody and never looking at herself. It was such an intense, intense scene — because it was real.

That’s why this cancellation breaks my heart! How do you cancel a show that delivers amazing moments like that one?

Absolutely. To be canceled after that was like, “Oh, rats!” We’re all in the groove now, and then we get canceled.

So what’s your final message to the fans?

I would love to thank the fans for their love and their support and their outcry. I hope we get to continue making the show because I don’t think we’re finished.

So keep fighting?

Keep fighting! Yes, at all times. Keep fighting.

Share your comments below and read more interviews from Dallas Decoder.

Comments

  1. Georgia Lee says:

    #SaveDallas #BringDallasBack

  2. Debbie Young says:

    Ms. Gray is a fine lady and fine actor! And you and she are right – this show and its fans deserve honor and respect! “Dallas” is one of a kind!

  3. Great interview. I can’t even put into words how much I love Linda Gray, dear Lord I do, and she can rest assured we will keep fighting for Dallas. #SaveDallas

  4. I’m not sure that another network will also bring back the executive producer and her staff so I’m no sure how Cidre could be working to get Dallas back. Networks usually hire their own producers and writers.

    • Bringing the show back without Cynthia Cidre would make TNT’s cancellation totally worth it.

      #savedallas.firecidre

      Linda Gray is a class act and one of the main reasons for the enduring success of Dallas. I hope another network picks up Dallas. I am totally unimpressed with TNT.

      • I couldn’t agree more. Cynthia messed up bigtime by killing off Pam and then now Christopher. When will she give up and stop fighting?

  5. Fantastic interview. I can’t accept we’ll never see Sue Ellen and her family again. It just can’t end this way. #savedallas

  6. I love all the Dallas characters. We, as fans of the show, have to keep up the good fight! This is an excellent interview with a lovely lady. I’m a Dallas fan from way back and I just love the new Dallas. #savedallas

  7. Tracy Gibson says:

    gotta keep the show going take it to cbs

  8. Dawn Fannon says:

    #SaveDallas.

  9. Jackie Alford says:

    Wonderful interview love Sue Ellen and the rest of the actors on Dallas it is truly the greatest show ever.

  10. #SaveDallas

    • Anonymous says:

      I hate this it was my favorite show, I swear everytime we get something normal to watch they cancel it !!! Where is CBS !

      • I agree, every time something normal on TV, they cancel it. I don’t watch the big 3 because all they have is zombies and singing and dancing shows. They have over done these type shows. I am not in my twenties and want something more!!!!! It’s been years since a series type show has been on TV, that you can actually follow (with a story line) #SaveDallas !!!!!!!

  11. #SaveDallas! I LOVE this show!!!!!! What is TNT thinking???? The cast, the writing, it’s incredible!!! Dallas is the best show on TV in a very long, long time!!!!! With the kind of talent and jaw dropping performances, someone MUST pick this show up!!!!!?

  12. Shelley Eagan says:

    Save Dallas!

  13. #SaveDallas, Great interview. Love Sue Ellen. Really hope the show gets picked up by another network!!!!

  14. #SaveDallas!! This is my favorite show and was the first time they aired it years ago. The characters are talented and it all really seems so real!! I am so sick of all the reality shows and this show adds some excitement and good entertainment which is needed in today’s TV markets. I feel like I almost know the characters personally from watching them over the years. Please, please SaveDallas!!!

  15. #SAVEDALLAS, such outstanding writers and actors a series worth keeping and watching, if you love roller coaster rides this is the show to watch.

  16. This Faithful Dallas Fan Is Not Through Fighting..#SaveDallas

  17. Garnet McGee says:

    Is there any way to sign the petition without it going into your facebook address book?

  18. I loved this interview! Thanks Chris, it adds to the momentum to #savedallas

  19. This interview is very heartening. Dallas is a great show and it deserves to stay on the air. Everyone, I have a strong feeling “Dallas” will be on the air next season. #SaveDallas

  20. Great interview! Never give up! #SaveDallas

  21. Anonymous says:

    #SaveDallas. I am one of their most loyal fans. I watched faithfully all those years ago and every episode (live) of the present. I can’t believe that this wonderful drama will end
    leaving us not knowing the answers to so many questions. Sue Ellen rocks and Josh Henderson is beyond fantastic as John Ross …. the entire cast was excellent.
    PLEASE save Dallas!!! I’m hoping another network will pick them……………………..

  22. #savedallas

  23. #SAVE DALLAS…, LOVE LINDA GRAY, AND SHE IS RIGHT…. LARRY HAGMAN, WOULD BE FURIOUS, WE MUST SAVE…….. #SAVEDALLAS

  24. JACKIE DUNCAN says:

    comon CBS PICK IT UP ITS A CLASS SHOW LOVE DALLAS SUE ELLEN BOBBY N GD OLD JR GOD BLESS HIM HE WAS ONE OF A KIND NEVER BE ANOTHER LIKE HIM

  25. CBS,
    PICK IT UP! #SaveDallas

  26. hardrockfootballfanatic says:

    This bashing of Cidre is childish and not helping matters. She did a good job. Not trying to be rude here, but a few of you need to grow up.

    • I not one to bash, but some feel that she took Dallas on the wrong path — Mexican cartel, threesomes, etc. I’ll always watch because that’s the kind of fan I am. I do feel, however, that there wasn’t enough publicity for the show and moving it to the toughest night of the week was not a good idea. Don’t see them moving Rissoli & Isles to Monday, do you? No…they put a show in an impossible time slot and then expect everyone to watch it live…give me a break.

      • hardrockfootballfanatic says:

        There have definitely been a few mistakes particularly in the continuity but the show overall is really well-done. The original had plenty of flaws as well.

  27. I loved the interview. So much hope given, and belief that this is not the end, just a commercial break while we wait. A CBS exec at the gathering you went to as well, how coincidental is THAT??? Changing nights in the original was very informative, in that TNT did not even TRY to do that in believing in Dallas, and no publicity did I see. Very close minded people in that company. I am proud to be Dallas forever fan, and you, Linda, are a woman of taste, class, and brass!! Thanks for all you do..

    • I feel dumb, not sure how to comment w/o hitting reply so forgive me piggy-backing here!
      I just want to thank Linda Gray as well, I have always heard that she is a really great person, kind, obviously beautiful! 🙂

      I think it is very cool that she is communicating with fans! She and Josh and Patrick are the only ones I have seen be supportive (ooh I think Brenda Strong as well), do we know what stars are willing to still be a part of the show?

      This show clearly means a lot to people. It sure does to me. My Grandfather worked in oil, his name was JR (we had fun with the “I shot JR” stuff, my Grandmother had an “I ❤ JR" coffee cup from that time), and so much of this show just makes me feel like …. well, at risk of being a big cry-baby, it means a lot to me. It is also nice to have this part of the country represented (and VERY well, I love that they film in real Dallas!). I am still hopeful someone will see that we want the show, we WILL WATCH the show, and we will be very grateful to have it!! Thank you Ms Gray & Dallas Decoder 🙂

  28. Great Interview, Great actress !! Loved it !! 🙂 #SaveDallas

  29. I am a walking Dallas nut. Started in 1982 while in the USAF in the UK. 2 week delay there,but mom (in the US) used tell me what happened before it came on the TV in the barracks. Very popular for the GI’s there then. Yes I have all the DVDs.
    I really enjoyed the new Dallas. Especially John Ross.
    Now get busy CBS and start making Dallas like before. Who’s the sister?

  30. Pam Williams says:

    The whole show and all of the actors were full of energy. .. I couldn’t wait for each episode. …
    #SaveDallas♡♡♡♡♡

  31. Jane Vazquez says:

    Dallas is a great “old” favorite. I love the new series as do so many of my family & friends!!! We look forward to watching & texting during shows !! It’s a great thing to share!!! Don’t let the fans down😘

  32. I love the show Dallas.I been a true follower ever since Dallas started right up to the new Dallas. My family and I enjoy it so much it was a time when the whole family would come together for this. So please don’t stop our family show Dallas.

  33. Tony Walker says:

    Please save Dalas!

    • We Pam fans and now Christopher fans have been upset when they killed off Pam and now Christopher. I am friends with Margaret Michaels and she played Pam after VP left and I happen to know she’s available and CHris Demetral that played Christopher in Dallas-JR REturns may be available to play Christopher now that Metcalfe has left. Cidre has to go. If CBS picks it up changes must be made. Pam must be brought back and Christopher must be alive.

  34. U know Miss Texas, I’m firmly in your corner!

  35. What is life without DALLAS? I can’t even begin to describe the mix of emotions that surged thru me when they announced the cancellation! I was full of tears, anger and royally upset with TNT for being sooooooooooo STUPID cancelling such a GREAT show!

    Linda Grey is by far my most fav character and person. Not only is she a very talented actress but just so very genuine off screen (I had the pleasure of seeing her when she starred in Mrs. Robinson when it came to my area) and she is just so very beautiful and never seems to age.

    Mega prayers that another network picks the show up and also brings back Knots Landing!

  36. The best show on TV and it gets canceled. I guess today’s watchers had rather watch a reality show that not reality at all. I don’t get it

  37. Allison says:

    Frankly, when I heard the show was being cancelled I was so disappointed. I just love
    Linda Gray and Bobby. The entire cast was
    Fabulous!! After watching I just couldn’t
    Wait for the next episode to see what would happen. Then the awful news of canceling it.
    How could something so good get cancelled?
    PLEASE bring Dallas back, #SaveDallas🙏

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