TNT brought out its cast and producers for the upcoming “continuation” of the eighties primetime drama, Dallas, to Saturday’s TCA press tour in Pasadena. Faced with several questions as to how they were preserving its legacy, the group was clear that it was staying true to its predecessor.
“The script that [executive producer Cynthia Cidre] wrote for the pilot honored all the intricate elements of what Dallas was in the past,” says executive producer Michael Robin. “And basically we dropped back in 20 years later. And a lot of the story elements are very similar in the way that we have an epic family drama, the interpersonal fights… We’re not taking it to a whole different place.”
Here are five other things we learned during the session.
It’s not a “primetime soap.” “Epic family drama” seems to be the preferred description among the group for the series. The phrase was used several times by different panelists. Is “soap” a bad word with the current state of daytime TV?
Larry Hagman is well and hilarious. In fact, Hagman’s jokes and asides became the highlight of the session. The actor says his fight against cancer is going well. And aside from a bit of time off, he’s back to working every day. “My treatment is going fine,” Hagman says. “They’re not writing me out. I have some time to make up, though.”
The “Big Three” will be a big part of the series. Since the announcement of the series pick up, fans wondered if Hagman, Patrick Duffy, and Linda Gray (whom the production calls the “Big Three”) were going to be used as part time stars to introduce the new characters and story lines. But, Cidre says, “It was never the intent to use the ‘big three’ as bait. They’re all integrated in all scenes.”
More characters from the original series will appear on the first season. The executive producers wouldn’t tell the room which original cast members will return, though. But, as of now, there are no plans to bring back Victoria Principal. And we’ll leave you this statement from Hagman: “By process of elimination, it’s not Barbara [Bel Geddes]. What, too soon?”
You won’t be seeing a redux of Duffy’s pivotal shower scene. “That’s for these guys,” the actor says, pointing to Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe.
Dallas premieres this summer.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro