Three years ago, when the soap opera first made its re-launch on Turner Network Television (TNT), excitement was widespread as the first episode drew seven million viewers. However, the pep was short lived as viewership began to quickly fall.
The simple act of the novelty wearing off was combined with a tragic occurrence: the death of Larry Hagman in 2012, who portrayed arguably the most famous character on the show, J.R. Ewing. The loss of a central character of both the original series and the remake continued the downward spiral of viewership, but perhaps also saved the show, if only momentarily, due to the writers working Hagman’s death into the show with the episode “J.R.’s funeral.” It raised viewership from 2 million to 3.5 million for the episode, giving the show enough steam to be picked up for a third and final season.
The second deathblow came from a switch in scheduling. “Dallas” was originally running nearly unopposed during the summer. But with that confidence, the network felt could compete with the bigger shows of the fall and winter months. As the ratings continued to plummet, it became obvious that was not the case. By that time, however, it was too late and the inevitable occurred.
A TNT spokesperson released a statement regarding the cancellation, “TNT has decided not to renew Dallas. We are extremely proud of the series, which defied expectations by standing as a worthy continuation of the Ewing saga. We want to thank everyone involved with the show, from the extraordinary cast to the impeccable production team, led by the show’s creative forces, Cynthia Cidre and Mike Robin. We especially want to thank the people of Dallas for their warm and generous hospitality during the production of the series.”
The cancellation comes at a time in which TNT and other Turner owned networks appear to be in a state of upheaval after the departure of Michael Wright, the programming president. It is unknown if there will be other cancellations, but efforts are being made to fill the void left by the cancellation of “Dallas” and the ending of TNT’s hit series “Falling Skies.” There are currently four major series looking to take the spots and make a name for themselves on the network, but for right now a hole has been created with the cancellation of a series that survived for a time in two different eras.