'Dallas' Producers Prepping Send-Off for Larry Hagman's J.R. Ewing
UPDATED: Writers and producers on the TNT update will begin work on a proper wrap-up for the iconic character.
J.R. Ewing may be getting a proper farewell.
With Larry Hagman's death on Friday and Dallas returning early next year, producers will now begin work on a way to give his iconic character a proper send-off, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter -- a possible indication that his passing caught the writers off-guard.
Hagman, who reprised his role as the scheming oil tycoon for the TNT update, filmed six episodes of the 15 ordered for the second season of the soap, and will appear when new episodes kick off Jan. 28. The first season closed out with J.R. and his son John Ross (Josh Henderson) teaming up and with a plan to destroy Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) and Elena (Jordana Brewster). J.R. had spent some time in a nursing home for depression.
At the moment there is no timeline on how production of Dallas will be affected, though Hagman's death is not expected to impact the premiere.
On Friday evening, executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin in a joint statement said Hagman was "a giant, larger-than-life personality" and loved playing "this globally recognized character."
Hagman, who also starred opposite Barbara Eden in 1960s hit I Dream of Jeannie, was diagnosed with cancer more than one year ago and continued to work on Dallas during treatment. He appeared in 10 episodes in the first season of the TNT series, which debuted in June.
Hagman's character was at the center of the famous “Who Shot J.R.?” storyline in which J.R. Ewing was fired upon in the 1979-80 season finale in March with the suspect not revealed until the following November -- when the series attracted a then-record 53.3 rating and 76 share.
Lesley Goldberg contributed to this report.