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important 'Dallas' was to them."
It's almost impossible to explain how important "Dallas" was, especially in
its first years, to viewers then.
It was epic, ostentatious, outrageous and addictive. And then, on the final
hour of its second season, it threw the audience a curve unlike anything viewers
had experienced before or since: J.R., the show's central figure, was shot by an
unknown assailant and left for dead on the floor in his office.
All summer and into the fall, a maniacal guessing game seized the nation: Who
shot J.R.? Nearly every character on the show had ample reason to want him
killed. But which of them had taken the homicidal initiative? On Nov. 21, 1980,
some 80 million viewers massed in front of their TVs to learn the truth: It was
Kristin, J.R.'s scheming sister-in-law and mistress.
For "Dallas" devotees, J.R.'s history of sins waged on everyone around him
remains holy writ. How cool to see him picking up right where he left off!
"The main thing that will draw fans back is the original stars," says
Henderson. "You can't be 'Dallas' without them. But I think the old audience
will be intrigued by the question 'Who is John Ross now, as an adult? How has
his relationship with his parents affected him?'"
The short answer: Thanks to a solid portrayal by Henderson, John Ross is
cocky, angry, cagey and relentless, yet somehow appealing.
Sue Ellen, who has come a long way from her rock-bottom days of boozing and
madness, is on track to be the governor of Texas, and she wants to atone for
past maternal neglect by helping her son. But on "Dallas," any alliance can be
fleeting and subject to betrayal by the next commercial break.
J.R., too, makes a grand show of reaching out to his long-estranged son. But
as much as John Ross wants to close ranks with J.R. against Christopher and
Bobby, he realizes he can't trust his father any more than anyone else does: "He
knows he has to stay two or three steps ahead of J.R.," says Henderson, "which
is very tough to do."
Thus does "Dallas" lovingly honor its grand heritage, including the proud
theme music and opening titles, with their shifting panels of updated Texas
imagery. But the new show acknowledges the passage of time. Texas wealth is
still flaunted, but Texas swagger has a streak of defensiveness. The modern
world this "Dallas" occupies has doubts and limitations.
In short, "Dallas" 2.0 is poised to please old-timers and newcomers alike —
and get them stirred up.
"Viewers are gonna talk about it," Gray predicts. "They're gonna tweet!
They're gonna Facebook!"
"I try to keep her up on her Twitter," notes Henderson.
"He does," Gray says. "FF! LOL!"
"I won't do it!" Hagman tells her. "You say one thing and a billion people
know about it. I'd just rather not, because I'm a little voluble on
"But in the crazy Twitter world," says Henderson, "people at companies will
pay you big dollars to tweet, 'Hey, I like this new product, blah blah
"You get PAID for twittering?" says Hagman, amazed. "Why didn't somebody tell
me this before?!"
"Product endorsements!" Gray says. "They pay you for them! You could go on
and say, 'I always wear my Stetson!'"
"Oh, my God!" says Hagman, mulling the possibilities. "We'll talk!"
"We made a deal," laughs Henderson, "right here at this table."
"They're my boys!" Gray declares with pride.
Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.