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JUN
14
2 YEARS

TNT's 'Dallas' Premiere Scores Just South (Fork) of 7 Million Viewers

UPDATED: The revival of the two-decades-dead series scores the highest cable series opener of 2012 -- though it's still a long way off from 1991's 33.3 million haul for the CBS original's finale.

Dallas (TNT)

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.

PHOTOS: Reviving an Empire: Behind the Scenes of TNT's 'Dallas'

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.