Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Takes a Ratings Dip

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Lifting the Veil, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Gang’s all here

“Dallas” slipped in the ratings this week: “Lifting the Veil,” the latest episode, was seen by 1.78 million viewers on March 17. This is the TNT drama’s smallest audience yet. There’s a bright spot, however: The show drew 595,000 viewers in the advertiser-prized demographic of adults between ages 18 and 49, up from 512,000 viewers in this category one week earlier.

“Dallas” also continues to get a lift from DVR users who record the show and watch it a few days later. The previous episode, “Playing Chicken,” debuted to 1.99 million viewers on March 10, although when DVR users are counted, the audience increased to 2.7 million viewers. This haul includes 1.1 million adults between ages 25 and 54, a demographic that TNT targets, and 889,000 adults between ages 18 and 49.

“Dallas” is averaging about 2.1 million viewers on Monday nights this winter, down from 2.7 million last year. The show is essentially tied with the crime drama “Perception” as the second most-watched drama on TNT’s winter schedule. Only “Rizzoli & Isles,” which is averaging 3.9 million viewers on Tuesday nights, is more popular.

TNT will pull both “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Perception” from its schedule after tonight and bring them back in June, while “Dallas” will continue to show new episodes until mid-April and then take its long-planned midseason break. The second half of “Dallas’s” third season will begin Monday, August 18, TNT announced last week.

How About Some More Retail Therapy?

Buckle up

Buckle up

Since we told you about the Ewing Oil Company Store last month, the independent online retailer has added several new products, including its most exclusive offering yet: a J.R. belt buckle like the one John Ross inherited on “Dallas” a few episodes ago.

The bronze buckle, which measures 3 inches by 4 inches, features a rope twist border and a flowering field surrounding the “JR” initials. The price: $65.95. Stephen W. Phillips, who owns and operates the store, plans to sell 23 buckles in honor of Ewing 23, the oil field that famously blew up on the original series.

The buckles will ship in the summer, Phillips said. Each one will come with a Ewing Oil stock certificate, a J.R. Ewing business card and a replica of John Ross’s black credit card.

Other recent additions to the store’s inventory: new versions of the J.R. liquor decanters (each one named for one of his mistresses; we’re partial to the “Harwood” model), a Braddock County road sign and a Harris Ryland bake oven.

If the store adds green corsets to its lineup, we’ll let you know.

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

Drill Bits: The Ewing Oil Store, Now Open for Business

Dallas, Ewing Oil Company Store, J.R. Ewing

Drink up, darlin’

You’ve watched the Ewings for years. Want to start living like them too?

The Ewing Oil Company Store, a new online retailer, is selling “Dallas”-themed merchandise for fans who want to bring a little bit of Southfork glamour into their homes. The signature product: a J.R. Ewing decanter inspired by the one seen on the TNT series.

“I was watching the show and like any crazed fan, the minute I saw that decanter, I wanted one,” said Stephen W. Phillips, who owns and operates the store. Phillips hired a glassworks company to create the decanters, which hold 31 ounces and sell for $39.95 each. Each decanter features J.R.’s signature etched into the glass and comes with a Southfork-branded bottle stopper.

Phillips’ products are not licensed by Warner Bros., which produces “Dallas,” although he’s contacted the studio about making his products “official.” If another company comes out with commercial products that are similar to his, Phillips said he may be required to stop selling his versions.

Last year, a Texas liquor distributor said it’s planning to sell J.R. Ewing bourbon in bottles like the one seen on the show, but it hasn’t hit the market. “Maybe there’s room for their product and mine,” Phillips said.

The Ewing Oil store’s other barware products include a Southfork liquor tray, a Ewing family ice bucket and a Ewing Global stainless steel flask. Additionally, the store sells Ewing Oil hardhats; replicas of the license plates that appeared on the show, including J.R.’s “Ewing 3” plate; and t-shirts that pay homage to classic “Dallas” storylines (the Gold Canyon 340 oil strike, the battle over the Tundra Torque).

Phillips’ love for “Dallas” began when he watched the show as a child with his grandmother on Friday nights. His enthusiasm for the Ewings continued through college, when daily “Dallas” reruns were appointment television for Phillips and his fraternity brothers.

Over the years, Phillips and his friends have staged their own version of the Oil Baron’s Ball, and he once made a pilgrimage to Southfork, where Phillips made his best friend push him into the swimming pool.

Don’t the people who run the ranch frown upon that sort thing? “It’s definitely frowned upon, but at least I can say I did it,” he said.

Batten Down the Hatches

Watch out, Christopher Ewing. Hurricane Heather is about to touch down on Southfork — or at least that’s how onetime “90210” star AnnaLynne McCord describes Heather, the new ranch hand she’ll play on “Dallas” next season.

“She comes on strong like a tornado and hurricane all wrapped into one,” McCord tells the MediaMikes entertainment news site. “Her energy is definitely a force to be reckoned with. I think that that dynamic is something that Christopher really likes about her. He is in this family that lies to everyone all the time and he has this one ‘creature’ that comes in saying, ‘I am going to tell you so much of the truth; you won’t be able to handle it.’”

McCord, who TNT bills as a guest star, tells MediaMikes she’ll wrap up her stint on the show during the third season’s 10th episode.

Now Streaming

TNT’s second season of “Dallas” arrives on DVD tomorrow, but if you can’t wait, head over to Netflix, where the show’s first two seasons are now streaming. As the Dallas Morning News suggests, a 25-hour “Dallas” marathon is the ideal way to beat the cold weather blues.

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