#SaveDallas: Where Will the Ewings Find a New Home?

#SaveDallas, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Linda Gray, Save Dallas, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Homeless, for now

If the effort to save “Dallas” succeeds — wait, I mean when it succeeds — where might the show find a new home?

It isn’t clear if Warner Bros., the studio that produces “Dallas,” is shopping the series to other outlets. Warner Bros. hasn’t issued a statement since the #SaveDallas campaign began last week, and a studio spokeswoman declined comment.

If Warner Bros. answers the fans’ call to rescue the series from TNT’s cancellation, the studio will probably find receptive audiences at other cable networks, according to Marc Berman, editor of TV Media Insights, an industry news site. “There are a lot of networks that could pick this show up and give it a good home,” he said.

“Dallas” would be a good fit at Lifetime, where it could be paired with the recently renewed “Devious Maids,” another prime-time soap opera, Berman said. Both shows tend to draw mostly women viewers, and the size of each show’s audience is comparable: “Dallas” averaged 1.9 million viewers on Mondays this year, while “Devious Maids” averaged 1.8 million viewers on Sundays.

If Lifetime or another cable network isn’t willing to commit to a full season of “Dallas,” they could commission a two-hour movie to test the waters — and resolve the third-season cliffhanger, Berman said.

Industry observers also see a future for “Dallas” online.

“Fans should probably focus on bringing their cause to fledgling but deep-pocketed outfits that are looking for more shows to add to their streaming line-up,” Washington Post TV critic Hank Stuever wrote yesterday.

Stuever suggested possibilities include AOL and Yahoo!, which recently picked up the comedy “Community” after NBC canceled it, but he cautioned fans that “streamingville is about buzz and cachet and the wired youth … and I don’t know that ‘Dallas’ can bring the hipster demographic.”

Berman said “Dallas’s” appeal to a somewhat older audience would be a boon for a streaming service. “If you’re Netflix or Hulu and you’re trying to expand your audience, why not do it with ‘Dallas’?”

He also pointed to the show’s popularity on social media, where “Dallas” has almost 1.6 million Facebook “likes” and more than 95,000 Twitter followers, as evidence there’s an audience for the series online. “And look at all the #SaveDallas tweets this week,” he said.

What about a move to a broadcast network? Some observers say this is less likely, although almost 7,000 fans have signed a petition calling for “Dallas” to return to CBS, home of the original series. Linda Gray told Dallas Decoder this week that CBS chief executive Les Moonves has received many emails from fans, and Highlight Hollywood reports the show’s production company plans to approach the network.

No matter where “Dallas” winds up, Berman — a longtime fan — hopes it will find a home that appreciates it more than TNT, which he said signaled its lack of interest in the series when it scheduled the two-hour finale on the first night of the new TV season.

“To end the show that way — and to leave viewers with an unresolved cliffhanger — sends a very clear message to the audience: We don’t care about you,” he said.

Where would you like “Dallas” to find a new home? Share your ideas below and check out Dallas Decoder’s Save Dallas Page for links to news coverage, petitions, other fan sites and more.

‘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.

9 Questions (and Answers) About ‘Dallas’s’ Future

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Give it to us straight, Uncle Bobby

“Dallas” fans have questions about the show’s future. Dallas Decoder has answers.

1. “Dallas’s” third season has reached its midpoint. How’s the show doing?

Creatively, “Dallas” has never been better. The performances are top-notch, the writing is strong and the pacing has slowed down. The show no longer moves at the speed at light, making it easier for the audience to keep up with the stories.

Unfortunately, fewer people are watching “Dallas” this year. The series is averaging 1.9 million viewers on Mondays at 9 p.m., down from the 2.7 million who watched on Monday nights last year. However, when you count DVR users who record the episodes and watch them within three days of their debut, “Dallas’s” audience grows to 2.8 million viewers.

Last year, “Dallas” averaged 3.5 million viewers with three-day DVR playback added in. But don’t overlook this fact: Even though “Dallas’s” audience is down overall, the show is adding roughly 800,000 viewers through DVR usage each week — essentially the same number it added each week last year. In other words: DVR users are true-blue “Dallas” loyalists.

Watch what happens

Watch them Ewings

2. OK, so the DVR numbers are encouraging. Do they really matter?

Yes, they matter. Remember: Television is a business, and the purpose of ratings is to let advertisers know how many people see their commercials.

Studies show DVR users don’t skip every ad, and so TV networks now sell commercial time based on several factors, including: 1) the number of people who watch shows when they air, and 2) the number of people who record shows and watch them a few days later.

3. How does “Dallas’s” ratings compare to other shows?

It depends on which shows you’re referring to. The most popular show on broadcast television last week was CBS’s “NCIS,” which grabbed 17.1 million viewers; on cable, the top show was HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which snagged 6.6 million viewers.

It’s probably fairer to compare “Dallas” to the other shows in TNT’s lineup. Since the beginning of the year, the cable channel has shown four original dramas: “Major Crimes,” which averages 7.4 million viewers, including the people it picks up through DVR playback; “Rizzoli & Isles” (5.6 million); “Perception” (3.3 million); and “Dallas” (2.8 million).

4. Are ratings the only numbers that matter?

No. Ratings are important, but other factors contribute to a show’s bottom line. For example, studios can also make money by selling their shows overseas, and the 36-year-old “Dallas” brand retains a lot of international appeal.

Additionally, there’s money to be made from DVD sales and licensing products based on a show — hello, J.R. Ewing Bourbon! — and it’s worth pointing out that Dallas the city gives “Dallas” the TV show tax breaks to film there.

Does any of this make the show a financial success? Who knows? TV networks rarely discuss a show’s finances (or its ratings or the network’s programming deliberations) publicly. Nevertheless, “Dallas’s” other potential revenue streams could be part of the calculus that goes into deciding the show’s future.

5. TNT pulled “Dallas” off its schedule after last week’s episode. Isn’t that cause for concern?

Nope. “Dallas’s” third season will consist of 15 episodes; TNT always planned to divide the season into halves — eight episodes in the winter and spring and seven episodes in the summer. TNT does this with its other shows, and so do other cable channels; AMC routinely splits “The Walking Dead’s” seasons, for example.

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, TNT

Summer lovin’

6. But TNT won’t start showing the second half of “Dallas’s” third season until August 18! What’s up with that?

Yeah, that news was kind of unexpected. Fans like me were hoping “Dallas” would return in June or July and regain some of the glory from its first season during the summer of 2012, when the show averaged 4.2 million viewers on Wednesday nights.

By holding the show’s return until mid-August, it might be harder for “Dallas” to stand out. If TNT runs one episode a week for seven weeks beginning August 18, “Dallas” will spill over into the fall TV season, when the competition is much tougher.

On the other hand, if “Dallas” shows its third-season finale in September and begins televising Season 4 in January or February 2015, that’ll amount to a four- or five-month hiatus — which is a lot better than the 10-month wait we had to endure between the second and third seasons.

7. What’s the deadline for TNT to decide if it wants to renew “Dallas” for a fourth season?

This isn’t clear. TNT announced “Dallas’s” third-season renewal on April 30, 2013, about two weeks after the second-season finale. The show traditionally begins production on each new season in September or October and wraps up filming six months later, and so if TNT wants to stick to a fall-to-spring production schedule, it probably needs to decide whether to renew “Dallas” soon so scripts can be written, sets can be built, costumes can be created, et cetera.

One date to watch: Wednesday, May 14. This is when TNT and sister channel TBS will hold their “upfronts,” the annual presentations where they pitch next season’s shows to advertisers. If TNT decides to renew “Dallas,” this could be a good place to announce it.

8. So will TNT renew the show?

Golly, I hope so. But I’m hardly an unbiased observer, so I took this question to one of the smartest guys I know: Marc Berman, editor in chief of TV Media Insights, a top industry news site. Berman is a “Dallas” fan too, but he promised to give us his honest viewpoint.

His prediction: Yes, TNT will give “Dallas” a fourth season. The fact that the show adds almost 1 million viewers through DVR playback is a plus, and so is “Dallas’s” status as a recognizable commodity in an increasingly cluttered media environment, Berman said.

9. OK, you seem to have a lot of answers, Dallas Decoder. So what’s going to happen to Pamela after her overdose in the midseason cliffhanger?

Beats the heck out of me, but I can’t wait to find out.

What did I miss? Share your questions about the future of TNT’s “Dallas” below and read more news from Dallas Decoder. 

Want to Help Boost ‘Dallas’s’ Audience? Here’s How

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

Promise to watch

You love TNT’s “Dallas” and want the show to be a hit, right? Here are three things fans like us can do to help the series get the big audience it deserves:

1. Watch “Dallas.” If it sounds easy, that’s because it is. TNT shows a new episode every Monday night at 9, Eastern and Pacific times, and 8, Central time. Watch it. Enjoy it. If you can’t view it “live,” set your DVR to record it and watch it as soon as you can. You can also download episodes from iTunes and Amazon.com, and if you’re a cable subscriber, you can stream them at DallasTNT.com.

Dallas, Elena Ramos, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Nicolas Trevino, TNT

Tweet for Nicolas

2. Talk about “Dallas” online. If you watch the show live, get on Twitter and tweet about it with your fellow fans. Be sure to use the hashtag #DallasTNT in all your tweets. If you want to read what other fans are saying about the show, enter #DallasTNT in Twitter’s search field and click “All” to see all the “Dallas”-related tweets.

As TV ratings expert Marc Berman told us recently, social media buzz is increasingly important to the success of series like “Dallas.” Consider this: The show’s official Twitter feed has 84,800 followers; if each one sent six #DallasTNT tweets last week, “Dallas” might have knocked AMC’s “The Walking Dead” off its perch as TV’s buzziest drama on Twitter. (“The Walking Dead” generated 439,000 tweets that were seen by 4.8 million people, according to Nielsen.)

You can also chat up “Dallas” on Facebook and other social media, where I encourage you to share my newly published list of 15 reasons everyone should be watching the show.

3. Talk about “Dallas” in real life. Never underestimate the power of good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth. If you love “Dallas,” tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers … everyone! Here’s an example of how you can weave “Dallas” into everyday conversation:

CO-WORKER: Hey, I’m going out for lunch. Can I pick you up something?

YOU: Sure, I’ll take a Coke. And when you get back, remind me to tell you how Judith Light snorted coke on “Dallas” last week.

You get the idea.

So hop to it, fellow fans. “Dallas” is already the best show on TV; now let’s make it the most popular.

How are you supporting “Dallas” this season? Share your comments below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Returns to TNT — and So Do Viewers

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Return, TNT

Nice job, boys

“Dallas” returned for its third season on February 24 — and so did the TNT dramas’s loyal fans. The episode, “The Return,” drew 2.7 million viewers, matching the show’s audience average on Monday nights last year.

“It was a big night of television and ‘Dallas’ held its own. That’s good news,” says Marc Berman, editor in chief of the industry news site TV Media Insights.

“Dallas” went head to head with the second half of NBC’s two-hour season premiere of “The Voice,” which drew 15.7 million viewers, the show’s second most-watched episode after its 2012 post-Super Bowl special. “That’s difficult competition, so the fact that [‘Dallas’] held onto last year’s audience is positive,” Berman says.

“Dallas’s” February 24 haul included 1.1 million adults between ages 25 and 49, a demographic that cable channels like TNT target, as well as 946,000 adults between 18 and 49, the group advertisers pay top dollar to reach. Berman predicts the audience for “The Return” will climb to more than 3 million once people who recorded the show on their DVRs and watch it later in the week are included.

“Dallas’s” season premiere was also a hit on Twitter, where the show’s actors live-tweeted the telecast and helped “trend” hashtags such as #DallasTNT and #JohnRoss.

Additionally, in a time when social media buzz is increasingly important to television shows, “Dallas” is gaining steam. By our count, the series has recently picked up more than 47,000 “likes” on its official Facebook page, which now boasts 1.5 million likes altogether. The show’s Twitter feed has more than 82,000 followers, up several thousand from a few days ago.

One of the “Dallas”-related hot topics on Twitter during the telecast was the introduction of the show’s retro-style split-screen opening credits — a switch Berman heartily endorses.

“As a longtime fan, it was great to see the actors’ faces in the credits again. They should have been there all along,” he says.

No Pain at These Pumps

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson

Service with a smile

“Dallas” was also a hit with New York City motorists yesterday.

Business was brisk at the Manhattan service station where TNT staged a one-day takeover to promote the third-season premiere.

TNT branded the station “Ewing Energies” and even brought in a Ewing tanker trunk, but the big draw was the bargain-basement price: The gas sold for just $1.98 a gallon, roughly half the national average.

Of course, it also didn’t hurt that Josh Henderson showed up to pump gas for a while.

Sue Ellen’s Publicity Tour

The “Dallas” cast has taken over the talk-show circuit in recent days. One of the highlights: Linda Gray’s visit to Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live,” where she was as charming as ever, reminiscing warmly about Larry Hagman, whom she lovingly referred to as her “bestie” for 37 years.

Altogether now: Awww!

Also, be sure to read her fun interview with the Washington Blade, the gay newspaper in Dallas Decoder’s hometown of D.C. Gray’s comments about Barbara Bel Geddes are especially hoot-worthy. Who knew Mama was such a card?

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

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ is Back! Now Start Tweeting, TV Expert Says

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Don’t just stand there. Tweet!

If “Dallas” fans want the TNT drama to stick around for a while, TV ratings expert Marc Berman has some advice for them: Start tweeting.

The amount of buzz a show generates on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites is increasingly important to its chances of survival, says Berman, editor in chief of TV Media Insights, a top industry news site. For example, the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars” doesn’t generate huge ratings, “but when you look at what that show does on social media, the numbers are through the roof,” Berman says.

“Pretty Little Liars” generated 391,000 tweets that were seen by 3.9 million users last week, according to media research giant Nielsen, which now measures Twitter chatter about TV shows. The show ranked second only to AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” which generated 484,000 tweets that were seen by 4.9 million users.

“Dallas” has a strong social media presence too. The show’s official Facebook page has received 1.4 million “likes,” and its Twitter feed has 78,000 followers. Berman says fans can support the series this season by talking about it on social media and sharing “Dallas”-related tweets and Facebook posts.

The “Dallas” stars are also getting in on the action. Yesterday, Linda Gray told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that she’s even received pointers from TNT — and co-star Josh Henderson — on the ins and outs of social media.

(This season, your Dallas Decoder is doing his part too. I’ll live-tweet each new episode on Monday nights — and to keep the conversations going after the show, my weekly #DallasChat Twitter discussions will move to Tuesday nights.)

Of course, traditional ratings matter too, Berman says. Last year, “Dallas” averaged 2.7 million viewers on Monday nights, but the audience grew to 3.8 million when you include people who record the show on DVRs and watch it later in the week. “The show must hold onto those numbers. If you see it lose 10 percent or 20 percent of its audience, that won’t be good,” he says.

And yes, DVR numbers matter. “Nobody looks at one set of numbers anymore. With ‘Dallas,’ you’re adding another million viewers [through DVR playback]. That’s important,” he says.

Berman also thinks it’s a good sign that TNT will give the show a midseason break. The cable channel plans to show the season’s first eight episodes in the winter and spring, and then put the series on hiatus until the summer, when the final seven hours will be telecast.

Summers are less competitive, and when “Dallas’s” first season was shown in the summer of 2012, the series averaged 4.2 million viewers. “By breaking up [the third season], you’re going to give ‘Dallas’ a better shot at staying on the air,” Berman says.

So what does Berman, a longtime “Dallas” fan, think of the new season? He’s seen the first two episodes and is impressed with the way the writers have made J.R.’s legacy part of the storyline. “It’s honoring Larry Hagman’s memory the way the original series honored Jim Davis’s memory after he died. They’ve done it really, really well,” he says.

We’re Pumped

Dallas, Ewing Energies gas, gasoline, TNT

Fill ‘er up

The real-life Ewing Energies gas station will open today at 466 10th Avenue in New York City.

Henderson, in his guise as John Ross, announced the news in a video posted this morning to “Dallas’s” Facebook page. “The price of gasoline — it’s out of your control. But not mine,” John Ross says.

The gas will sell for just $1.98 a gallon — but for today only. As John Ross explains, “Unlike our competitors, who want to rob you blind, I just want to make us both rich.”

If you can’t make it to the station today, you can visit the “Dallas” Facebook page to enter a sweepstakes to win “Black Gold” gift cards.

Look Who Else is Tweeting (and Talking)

Speaking of tweeting: If you’re looking for Julie Gonzalo after 3 p.m. Eastern today, check Twitter. The “Dallas” star says she’ll live-tweet the afternoon portion of TNT’s 26-hour “Dallas” marathon, which kicked off last night and will culminate tonight at 9 with the debut of the third-season premiere, “The Return.”

Meanwhile, Gonzalo’s co-stars are hitting the talk-show circuit to promote Season 3.

Henderson will appear on “Live with Kelly and Michael” today and “The Wendy Williams Show” on Friday, February 28. Both shows are syndicated, so check your local listings.

According to Gray’s Facebook page, she’ll also appear on “Live with Kelly and Michael” soon. Gray’s post also indicates she’ll guest on “Today,” “Piers Morgan Tonight,” “Watch What Happens Live” and “Katie.” Precise airdates haven’t been announced.

Finally, Patrick Duffy is scheduled to drop by “Live with Kelly and Michael” on Friday, March 7.

Boy, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan must love discussing “Dallas” as much as we do!

We’ve Got It Covered

Your Dallas Decoder is going to work harder than ever to deliver exceptional coverage of “Dallas” this season. In case you missed it, here’s an overview of our plans.

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