1:28pm PT by Sophie Schillaci
'Dallas' Jesse Metcalfe Defends Ratings Slump: 'We Don't See It That Way'
It's no secret that TNT's Dallas ratings have dipped in the wake of a programming shift, moving Cynthia Cidre's soapy drama from the heart of summer to the dead of winter, but star Jesse Metcalfe isn't worried about the fate of the program.
"I think they took what they saw as one of their strongest shows and moved us to a completely different time of year and a completely different day and time slot because that's where they needed strong programming," Metcalfe tells The Hollywood Reporter. "Given that fact, they’re still very pleased with the numbers."
After hitting series lows earlier in its sophomore season, Dallas' season premiere last week grew to more than 4 million viewers with the aid of time-shifted viewing -- up 36 percent from its initial broadcast. Last week's episode increased to 3.1 million viewers in Live + 3 delivery.
"I think, obviously, it makes for a better headline to say the show is slumping, but we don’t see it that way," says Metcalfe. "It's about dollars and cents at the end of the day. We get reports from Steve Koonin (president of Turner Entertainment Networks) and from Michael Wright (TNT's president, programming). The show is doing what they needed it to do in these winter months in the time slot that they have chosen. It’s consistently delivering over 1 million viewers in their key demographic."
He adds: "Basically, if they're happy, I'm happy."
With a new episode airing Monday, Metcalfe also teases what's to come in the wake of Ann's (Brenda Strong) guilty verdict last week
"For the viewers that were missing the action and the big cliffhangers in the last episode, being that it was kind of a more performance driven, emotional courtroom episode, they’re going to get their fix in episode six," the actor reveals, making a point to address the return of Vicente (Carlos Bernard) -- the incarcerated Venezuelan businessman who financed J.R.'s and John Ross' deal with Veronica.
STORY: 'Dallas': Brenda Strong on the Introduction of Ann's Daughter, J.R. Ewing's Funeral
Metcalfe also says that Christopher's relationship with Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) is on the mend, and the two will soon "be able to tolerate being in the same room as one another." But when one door opens…
"It's definitely putting a strain on Christopher and Elena's (Jordana Brewster) relationship," Metcalfe allows. "There's no doubt about that. Elena is incredibly supportive and I think she wants what's best for Christopher, and finding common ground with [Pamela] is what's best for Christopher and their children."
Asked if Christopher and Pamela ever could reunite, Metcalfe is skeptical.
"Her betrayal has cut him very deep, so I'd be surprised if anything transpires like that in this season," he says, "but you definitely always have feelings for the mother of your children."
Email: Sophie.Schillaci@THR.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci