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%.”