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Hello, Darlin’: TNT Greenlights ‘Dallas’ Remake

This is awesome news for fans of ’80s TV and primetime soaps: TNT has officially given a greenlight to the long-in-development remake of Dallas, the classic nighttime soap about the Ewings, the Texas oil family led by the wily J.R. (Larry Hagman).  The best news: as had been rumored, Hagman, Linda Gray as his ex-wife Sue Ellen and Patrick Duffy as his white sheep brother Bobby will all be  part of the new show.

The series, which will air in summer 2012 on TNT, will be previewed Monday night during the season premieres of The Closer (9PM ET) and Rizzoli & Isles (10PM ET) … who’s in for another round with the Ewings?

The TNT press release on the reboot:

TNT Greenlights New Series DALLAS

TNT to Unveil Special Sneak Preview of DALLAS Monday
During Season Premieres of THE CLOSER and RIZZOLI & ISLES

New DALLAS Stars Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo and Brenda Strong, Along with the Return of TV Icons Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray

TNT has given the greenlight to DALLAS, an all-new series based upon one of the most popular television dramas of all time, about the bitter rivalries and family power struggles within a Texas oil and cattle-ranching dynasty. Famous for its ratings-grabbing cliffhangers, the original series was known for its wealth, seduction, scandal and intrigues. Set in the big state of Texas, TNT’s new DALLAS — from Warner Horizon Television — also lives life large and in the fast lane and  brings a new generation of stars together with cast members from the original drama series. The new DALLAS stars Josh Henderson (90210), Jesse Metcalfe (John Tucker Must Die), Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious), Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) and Brenda Strong (Desperate Housewives), and they will be joined by iconic stars Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing. TNT has ordered 10 episodes of DALLAS, which is slated to premiere in summer 2012.

TNT will give viewers their first look at DALLAS on Monday with a special sneak peek during the season premieres of the network’s blockbuster hits THE CLOSER, which starts at 9 p.m. (ET/PT), and RIZZOLI & ISLES, which airs at 10 p.m. (ET/PT). TNT is unveiling today a website dedicated to the new DALLAS series, where fans can view an online photo gallery that features a first look into the show’s new and returning cast.  Fans can visit the new site, http://www.dallastnt.com, to watch sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes videos. The website will be periodically updated with new materials.

“TNT has explored the possibility of an updated version of DALLAS for several years, but it wasn’t until we read Cynthia Cidre’s outstanding pilot script that we knew we had the foundation for a great new series,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president, head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies (TCM). “It is incredibly exciting to see both new and familiar characters in the hands of a dream cast under the guidance of the enormously talented Cidre and Mike Robin. We couldn’t be more pleased with how DALLAS has come together.”

The original DALLAS aired from 1978 to 1991 and centered on the Ewing family, a cattle and oil dynasty occupying the expansive Southfork Ranch in Texas. A long and bitter rivalry between brothers J.R. Ewing (Hagman) and Bobby Ewing (Duffy) eventually led to J.R. losing control of most of the Ewing industries. In the new DALLAS, this explosive rivalry now lives on through another generation, with the future of the family fortune in the hands of the Ewing offspring: cousins John Ross Ewing (Henderson), the son of J.R. and ex-wife Sue Ellen (Gray), and Christopher Ewing (Metcalfe), the adopted son of Bobby. Brewster stars as Elena, who is involved in a love triangle with Christopher and John Ross. Gonzalo stars as Christopher’s fiancée, Rebecca. And Strong stars as Ann, Bobby’s wife.

Executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who wrote the acclaimed film The Mambo Kings and produced the TV series Cane, wrote the pilot for the new DALLAS. TNT’s series is based on the original series created by David Jacobs. The new DALLAS comes to TNT from Warner Horizon Television. Michael M. Robin (The Closer) is the director and executive-producer of the pilot.

 

It’s the 1980s (Again) in Primetime!

Hey TVScreeners. As you might have noticed, things have been pretty quiet on the TVScreener.com front lately. Blame a slew of holiday gift guides and other features I’ve been writing for TV Squad, plus a little 50,000-word book project that I have, oh, about a month to write … but that’ll wrap shortly (and I’ll share more about it when the release date gets closer), and things will be back to normal around the ol’ TV blog soon enough. PS – Stay tuned for a killer TVScreener.com Christmas giveaway. Seriously, hundreds of dollars worth of TV-related swag to share, and it kicks off right after Thanksgiving!

In the meantime, I had to take a sec to post about the awesome little ’80s revival that’s happening in primetime these days:

Magnum P.I. star Tom Selleck‘s back on the tube with Blue Bloods, one of the few new hits of the fall TV season;

The Hollywood Reporter uh, reports, that Remington Steele and James Bond movie star Pierce Brosnan is headed back to primetime, in a show that sounds Bond-ish;

– The Hub is airing back-to-back episodes of Family Ties Monday thru Thursday nights (8 and 8:30 PM), which has not only been a reminder of what a genius of comedic timing Michael J. Fox is, but, via that “Sit, Ubu, sit” ending, has helped me finally figure out the origin of my obsession with Labrador Retrievers. PS – My fellow Family Ties fans, a must-read book: The autobio of Ties creator Gary David Goldberg, called Sit, Ubu, Sit and featuring the iconic photo of the pooch on the cover;

– The ubiquitous presence of Betty White (and all the ’80s stars on her TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland) on TV, as well as in the awesome new Golden Girls: 25th Anniversary Complete Collection DVD box set (in packaging that mimics Sophia’s handbag);

– TNT’s in-the-works Dallas series remake, which may star Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and the legend himself, Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing;

– Comedies like The Middle, Modern Family and Raising Hope (which several of my TV critic cohorts and I at Scooter McGavin’s 9th Green picked as one of the best new shows of the season) have led a revival of the type of great family sitcoms we haven’t seen a prevalence of since the ’80s;

– And the new TBS ’80s college comedy Glory Daze, which, in addition to being solidly funny and starring a cast of talented, endearing newcomers, also boasts the fashions, trends and music of the ’80s. Delightful.

Oh, and though it’s not primetime, it is ’80s TV-related: The Pee-wee Herman Show, the new Broadway show that’s like being live at Pee-wee’s Playhouse. TVScreener.com reader Rich told me he’s seeing the show the day after Thanksgiving, and I cannot highly enough recommend that anyone else who loves the Playhouse and will be in NYC during the holidays check it out. Even though the show isn’t about the holidays, I can’t think of a better way to get yourself in a feel-good holiday mood.

So, who else is loving this retro vibe in primetime? Dallas will soon return … what other ’80s drama or sitcom would you love to see remade? Which other ’80s TV superstars would you like to have join Tom Selleck, Pierce Brosnan and Ed O’Neill (not to mention Cheers star  Shelley Long as a Modern Family guest star and Miami Vice star Don Johnson in that recent Eastbound and Down appearance) in a return to TV land?

Why Do the Networks Cancel New Shows So Quickly?

Lone Star? Gone. My Generation? Gone. The next new fall TV series on the chopping block? NBC just shut down production on Outlaw, so yes, even a Jimmy Smits drama can get the heave-ho after just a few weeks.

Why are the networks so quick to pull the plug on shows they’ve pumped millions of dollars into? How do they decide, after just two airings in the case of Lone Star, that a show isn’t likely to catch on (or that they don’t want to spend the money to wait around and find out if it will)?

Check out Advertising Age’s article “The Calculus of Canceling TV Shows,” a good explanation of what makes the networks tick when it comes to deciding how much time they’re going to give new series to make their marks on the schedule. Ratings, DVRs, DVDs and international markets all factor in, but, as with most things, you can shorthand the explanation to the fact that it’s all about the benjamins.

By the way, the next shows likely to bite the dust after Outlaw, according to TV by the Numbers (the go-to source for series ratings info and analysis): ABC’s The Whole Truth and Detroit 1-8-7 and Fox’s The Good Guys, all shows that sounded great in theory and casting …

Nixon vs. Kennedy: The 50th Anniversary

No, not the Mad Men episode (though that one, of course, is one of the series’ gems). No, today is the 50th anniversary of the game-changing Richard Nixon/John F. Kennedy televised debate, the first time a presidential debate had been televised.

The September 26, 1960 debate between then-Vice President Nixon and then-Senator Kennedy has also come to be known as the event that helped Kennedy eventually win the election, as Nixon not only appeared tired and nervous (he’d just spent time in the hospital for a knee injury) vs. Kennedy’s cool, rested, tan appearance, but Nixon also seemed reluctant to actually debate at certain points.

Ted Sorenson, who was an adviser to Kennedy, wrote a piece in today’s New York Times that takes on some of the big myths that persist about the “Great Debate” … it’s a great read, especially as a companion to actually watching some of the footage from the debate (thanks, YouTube).

Channel Surfing – September 21, 2010

All the tube news that’s fit to surf …

– Tonight’s must-see viewing: Sons of Anarchy (10PM ET, FX), which features a clever guest appearance by Stephen King.

– Worth checking out among tonight’s series premieres: Fox’s Raising Hope (9PM), from the creator of My Name Is Earl. The comedy revolves around 23-year-old Jimmy, who finds out his one-night-stand — a murderer who’s about to be executed — is about to give birth to his baby. High concept, yes, but surprisingly funny, and with that same Earl vibe.

– The success of the Glee soundtrack has prompted Billboard to recall some of the most memorable, charting TV theme songs of all time.

– More Glee news: Gwyneth Paltrow is the latest potential celeb guest star.

– Notice anything different about The Price Is Right, which kicked off its 39th season this week? Like Drew Carey‘s amazing 80-pound weight loss? He did it with exercise and changing his eating habits … he looks incredible!

Boardwalk Empire has been renewed for a second season. Who watched the premiere? Did you love it? Like it? I think it’s really good, and definitely worth checking out, but it’s not yet at that must-see level of The Sopranos or The Wire (or the aforementioned Sons of Anarchy).

Weeds and The Big C have been renewed by Showtime.

– CBS has already cast its competition for The View, and now Oprah is planning a View-ish talk show of her own, which will launch on her OWN TV network in January and be produced by Mark Burnett.

– ABC seems to be planning its own version of Mad Men, but with the action revolving around Pan Am pilots and flight attendants in the ’60s.

Lost stars Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson have been talking about re-teaming for a new TV show, and it looks like it might actually happen, with Lost creator J.J. Abrams involved.

NYMag.com answers nine questions you might have about the new TV season.

– The cast of Saturday Night Live, along with producer Lorne Michaels, will be Larry King‘s guests Friday night, and on Thursday, Jerry Seinfeld will appear, and promises to reveal “one of Hollywood’s best kept secrets.” Any guesses as to what could it be? NYMag.com has a funny theory.

– Sad news about Spartacus: Blood and Sand star Andy Whitfield, who is once again battling cancer. The actor, who lives in Australia, has announced that he won’t return to the Starz series.

– Like season 12, season 25 of The Real World will be based in Las Vegas.

– ABC announced that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will join the judges on Shark Tank for season two, though the entrepreneur is going to have his hands full with that just-reinstated insider trading case.

– And can’t wait to see the holiday episode of Community, which is being Rankin/Bass-ized.

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