A Dallas reboot without J.R. Ewing? TNT can’t imagine it! Despite an internet report that the cabler’s remake of the classic CBS drama is moving ahead without Larry Hagman, EW has learned that the network is hopeful a deal can and will be reached with the original star.
TNT has already persuaded Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy to make appearances in the new version, which was penned by Cynthia Cidre (Cane) and focuses on the sons of J.R. and Bobby Ewing. The network remains high on the new iteration, even though it has yet to begin production on a pilot. “I don’t want to give away the plot, but [Cynthia] found something authentic to business and to Dallas that allows them to trade on the same dynamic of the super wealthy,” TNT/TBS programming head Michael Wright told Variety on Thursday. “Dallas was always something of an Upstairs Downstairs paradigm. If it wasn’t the rich and poor, it was attitude – entitlement versus a populist point of view. This covers all that.”
Meanwhile, Hagman told EW in September that he continues to make appearances on behalf of Dallas, which syndicates in 60 countries today. ”It’s like an annuity, really,” Hagman, 78, said. ”I go out, they adore me, and then they pay you. What better job can you have?” He seemed willing to do the Dallas reboot.
This isn’t the first time that someone’s tried to revive the Texas oil family drama that aired from 1978 to 1991. In 2006, Twentieth Century Fox decided to adapt the soap for the big screen, closing deals with John Travolta, Jennifer Lopez, and Luke Wilson. But then research indicated that the Dallas brand didn’t mean much to younger moviegoers, says a source close to the project. Travolta and Lopez soon dropped out.