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.

The Fight to Save ‘Dallas’ Picks Up Steam

In the fight

In the fight

“Dallas” fans are fighting hard to save the show from cancellation — and the world is beginning to take notice.

The New York Times reported yesterday on the efforts to save the series, including the largest online petition, which has garnered more than 55,000 signatures.

Also, the #SaveDallas hashtag has been embraced by many fans, as well as stars such as Josh Henderson and Juan Pablo Di Pace, who’ve been using it in their social media posts. And this morning, Mitch Pileggi tweeted, “You Dallas fans are amazing and you should know as a certainty that your voices ARE being heard. Keep at it.”

Elsewhere, executive producer Cynthia Cidre tells Ultimate Dallas the battle cry I sounded in my first tweet — “Yesterday we cried, today we fight back” — has become the mantra for the show’s behind-the-scenes team.

I don’t know about you, but this kind of encouragement makes me want to fight harder. Here’s what I recommend:

• Help round up more support for the petition. If you haven’t signed the petition yet, do it now. Urge your friends and family to do it too. Fifty-five thousand signatures is an outstanding start, but if we want TV and studio executives to really pay attention to us, we’re going to need more signatures.

• Keep showing your support on social media. Use the #SaveDallas hashtag when sharing your love for “Dallas” on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. Remember, the hashtag makes it easier for studio and network executives, reporters and others to search for and find fans’ posts.

• Target your tweets. Many of you have been tweeting at reporters and bloggers and encouraging them to cover the campaign. Keep it up! It’s best to target journalists who report on the entertainment industry. I also encourage everyone to send positive messages to Warner Bros., the studio that owns “Dallas,” by tweeting to @warnerbrostv. Let the Warner Bros. executives know you want them to find “Dallas” a new home.

I’ve set up a Save Dallas Page to collect links to news coverage, petitions, Facebook pages, fan sites and more. Click these links to see what the press and other fans are saying. I’ll update the page as often as possible.

It’s always an uphill battle to save a TV show, but it can be done. Thanks to everyone for their efforts, and keep up the amazing work.

Do you have additional ideas to save “Dallas”? Share your passion and positive comments below.

Let’s Keep Fighting to Save ‘Dallas’!

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

Ewings unite

You’re doing a helluva job, “Dallas” fans! Three days after TNT cancelled the series, you’ve raised your voices and let the world know you want the show to go on.

Let’s keep up the fight. Our goal is to encourage Warner Horizon, the studio that produces “Dallas,” to find a new home for the show. (Or who knows? Maybe TNT will reverse its decision, although that seems like the longest of long shots.)

It’s still early in our effort, and until we hear more from the people connected to the show, the most important thing we can do is to keep showing our love for “Dallas.” Here’s what I recommend:

• Sign the petitions. There are several online petitions to save “Dallas.” The most popular is Sara Duckworth’s petition, which has garnered more than 44,000 signatures.

• Show your support on social media. It’s great to see fans using the #SaveDallas hashtag, which trended on Facebook and Twitter over the weekend. Keep it up! The hashtag makes it easy for studio and network executives, reporters and others to search for and find fans’ posts.

• Tell your family and friends. Nothing beats good, old-fashioned word of mouth. Tell the people you know about the Save Dallas campaign and encourage them to join the effort.

The next edition of Dallas Decoder’s weekly #DallasChat will be Monday, Oct. 6, at 9 p.m. on Twitter. We’ll discuss why we love the show and share suggestions on how to save it. Drop by and bring your enthusiasm and good ideas.

I also encourage everyone to check out the coverage from the International Business Times, the Epoch Times and the MassLive.com news site, as well as all the great videos that are surfacing online.

Thanks to Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray, Mitch Pileggi, Brenda Strong and everyone else who sent encouraging tweets over the weekend. Above all, thanks to the fans. Remember: This campaign belongs to everyone. We’re all Ewings now, and it’s time for us to circle the wagons and save the show we love.

Update (Oct. 7, 6:40 p.m.) I’ve set up a Save Dallas Page with links to news coverage, petitions, Facebook pages, fan sites and more. Please visit the page for the latest updates.

Why do you love “Dallas”? Share your passion and positive comments below.

Let’s Discuss the #SaveDallas Effort Tonight on #DallasChat

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

Strategy session

You’re invited to Dallas Decoder’s next #DallasChat on Twitter, which I’ll hold Monday, October 6, from 9 to 10 p.m. Eastern time.

We’ll discuss “Dallas’s” cancellation and the #SaveDallas campaign to find the show a new home.

If you have ideas for questions, leave them in the comments section below, tweet them to me @DallasDecoder or post them to my Facebook page. I may choose one or more questions and ask them during our discussion.

New to #DallasChat? Here’s how it works: For one hour, I tweet 10 questions to my fellow “Dallas” fans. Each question is numbered and includes the hashtag #DallasChat, so your answers should do the same. Please include the #SaveDallas hashtage in your tweets too.

Here’s a sample exchange:

Q1. Why do you want to #SaveDallas? #DallasChat

A1. I want to #SaveDallas because it’s the most entertaining hour on TV. Let’s find the show a new home! #DallasChat

Two tips:

During the discussion, enter #DallasChat in Twitter’s search field. This will help you watch the search results so you can follow the conversation. Click “All” to see all the related tweets.

Be sure to include #DallasChat in your tweets. This allows the other participants to see your contributions to the conversation.

This promises to be a fun discussion. I look forward to seeing you tonight!

Let’s Save ‘Dallas’!

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

The show must go on

Dry your tears, darlins. We’ve got work to do.

We were all saddened yesterday by TNT’s cancelation of “Dallas.” Today brings new hope: Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray each sent tweets this morning suggesting the show could go on. Duffy wrote, “I for one am not done with Bobby Ewing! Let’s see if some network wants the Ewings to live on! Love you all!!” Gray’s tweet: “Thank you again for your support! Keep it coming so it can help get us back entertaining you!”

Challenge accepted, Bobby and Sue Ellen!

There’s talk Warner Horizon, the studio that produces “Dallas,” will try to find a new home for the show on another network or some other outlet. Let’s encourage these efforts by getting on Facebook, Twitter and other social sites and declaring our love for the show.

Our efforts will be most effective if everyone uses the same hashtag. I recommend #SaveDallas, but if you have other suggestions, please share them below.

Here’s a sample social media message:

#SaveDallas! I love the show and want it to continue. Let’s have more Ewing drama, please.

Make your voices heard, fellow fans. It’s always an uphill battle to save a show after it’s been canceled, but it can be done — just look at “Chuck,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Star Trek” and other series that were rescued by loyal viewers.

This is just the beginning. If you have other ideas, share them below. We need helpful suggestions, not criticisms. Let’s harness our positive energy, work together and save “Dallas”!

Update (Oct. 4, 5:40 p.m.) Here’s one fan’s “Help Save Dallas” petition with almost 14,000 signatures! Fans are also using the hashtags #BringBackDallas and #EwingsUnite. Keep your ideas coming.

Update (Oct. 4, 10:20 p.m.) This petition from fan Jennifer Parker Folan calls on “Dallas” to return to CBS, home of the original 1978-1991 series. Any other petitions out there?

Update (Oct. 4, 10:50 p.m.) The #SaveDallas campaign is getting press coverage! Read the International Business Times’ coverage of fans’ efforts to save the show.

Update (Oct. 5, 10:30 a.m.) Other “Dallas” fan sites are working to save the show too, including Ultimate Dallas, Dallas Fanzine and Dallas Divas Derby. Follow them on social media and show your support for “Dallas.”

Update (Oct. 5, 9:40 p.m.) The “Help Save Dallas” petition now has more than 41,000 signatures! Also, be sure to read the coverage from The Republican, a newspaper in western Massachusetts, as well as the report from the Epoch Times.

Update (Oct. 6, 10:10 a.m.) Here’s a full-length update, including links to some of the great fan-made videos that are popping up online.

Update (Oct. 7, 6:30 p.m.) I’ve set up a Save Dallas Page with links to news coverage, petitions, Facebook pages, fan sites and more. Please visit the page for the latest updates.