June 14, 2012 9:44am PT by Michael O'Connell
TNT's 'Dallas' Premiere Scores Just South (Fork) of 7 Million Viewers
Nearly a year after baiting audiences with its first promo, TNT finally unveiled the new incarnation of iconic CBS primetime soap Dallas on Wednesday night.
The first outing drew 6.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched cable series premiere of the year, following in the footsteps of the network's recent summer debuts of Falling Skies in 2011 and Rizzoli & Isles in 2010.
Dallas made TNT the top-scoring basic cable network of the night, with the two-hour premiere even besting broadcast networks between 9-11 p.m. The two-hour premiere also drew 1.9 million adults 18-49 and 2.5 million in TNT's favorable adults 25-54 demo.
The haul outpaced TNT's current summer heavyweight, Rizzoli & Isles, by more than 1 million viewers. It also topped last summer's Falling Skies debut (5.9 million) by nearly the same number.
For some historical context, it should be noted that this score marks a nearly 80 percent drop since the last episode of Dallas. The 1991 series finale of the original show, which aired for 13 seasons on a vastly different TV landscape, took in 33.3 million viewers.
And those numbers were nothing foreign to the series. The 1980 "Who Shot J.R.?" episode still stands as the second-highest-rated entertainment broadcast in U.S. history with 41.5 million viewers. The 1983 series finale of CBS' M*A*S*H is the all-time leader with 50.2 million.