The farewell to J.R. Ewing and Larry Hagman last night on Dallas pushed the TNT reboot to a season high. The series rose 23% among adults 18-49 and 28% in total viewers from last week’s episode, where the evil oilman was killed off. The star of the original Dallas and the reboot, Hagman died in the Texas city on November 23 while filming the second season of the show. Dallas pulled in 3.559 million total viewers and 1.099 million in the key demo Monday night. The older-leaning network also pulled in 1.377 million in the adults 25-54 demo, up 26% from last week’s show. While not nearly the 6.9 million total viewers who tuned in for the series premiere of the new Dallas last summer, that’s a nice rise from the average 2.6 million viewers who have been watching the series’ second season since its January 28 debut. Hagman appeared in the first seven episodes.
For a third time since it was conceived, TNT‘s new Dallas series will have to adjust its storylines to account for the absence of one of its signature characters, J.R. Ewing. And while the first two times the preparations turned out to be contingency plans that were never enacted, this time the show is forced to write off the villainous oilman following the death of the actor who’s portrayed the iconic character over the span of 35 years.
Related: R.I.P. Larry Hagman
Larry Hagman, who died Friday at age 81 from cancer complications, was in Dallas filming Season 2 of TNT’s Dallas. He had completed shooting a number of episodes — believed to be six — before his death, and will appear in the 15-episode Season 2 of the series, slated to premiere January 28. As of now things are fluid, and it is unclear how his passing will affect the production on the show, which was scheduled to resume following the Thanksgiving break. Extending the hiatus or scheduling one in the near future is a possibility so the writers can rework the scripts for the remaining episodes without Hagman and, more importantly, create a proper sendoff for J.R. The larger-than-life character was already at the heart of one of the most famous episodes of television as the November 1980 Dallas episode that resolved the series’ “Who shot J.R.?” cliffhanger remains the second-most-watched telecast of all time. J.R.’s farewell episode on the new Dallas will likely attract legions of fans of the iconic character.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
TNT this afternoon rolled out the cast and producers for its new edition of Dallas that Turner programming chief Michael Wright referred to as “not a remake and not a reboot but a continuation of” the iconic nighttime soap that originally ran on CBS for 14 seasons (1978-91). “It will be as if the cameras were left on 20 years ago and everyone went on with their lives,” he added. While most of the cast has moved on, Larry Hagman (the notorious J,.R. Ewing), Bobby Ewing (Patrick Duffy) and Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray) all are back for the new edition slated to premiere next summer. The returnees looked fresh and ready to roll anew — even Hagman (the only cast member to appear in all 357 episodes of the original series) despite some much-publicized health issues. “What’s the best part? Work at 80 years old!” announced Hagman, dapper in a 10-gallon hat, “and doing a job I love with people I love.” Hagman added that except for the fact there about about 490 more channels now than there were when Dallas originally hit the air, things aren’t all that different now. “When Dallas was really hot, we were in a major recession,” he said. “People couldn’t afford to hire a babysitter and go out for the night. They had to stay in on Friday nights and watch something, and we were it. Now here we are again.” When it was noted that a generation of TV stars might owe Hagman a debt of gratitude for his onetime Dallas salary holdout, he quipped, “I think everybody from Friends owes me at least 10%.”