With a premiere that drew nearly 7 million viewers this summer, TNT’s splashy “Dallas” reboot seemed primed for success in its second life. The cable series – in which Larry Hagman reprised his 1980s role as the legendary Texas oil man J.R. Ewing – was slated to return for a second season next year.
Yet Hagman’s unexpected death at 81 on Friday leaves the future of the show, which was set to resume on Jan. 28, in question. Sources close to “Dallas” said Saturday that Hagman had completed filming on several new episodes before his death and will appear in Season 2.
But the sources also acknowledged that the production hasn’t yet established how it will address Ewing’s departure from the series, which was widely thought to revolve around Hagman’s portrayal. The show's writers and producers are said to be working to give the character a proper sendoff.
“It is Hagman’s show,” wrote Times TV critic Robert Lloyd in his review. Lloyd went on, “[T]he actor has lost a little of his suppleness, but none of his sparkle.”
The son of Broadway star Mary Martin, Hagman announced last year that he’d been diagnosed with cancer, news that came near the end of a long career on TV and movies. In the late ’60s he starred opposite Barbara Eden in “I Dream of Jeannie” and appeared more recently in the films “Nixon” and “Primary Colors.”
At the time of its June debut, “Dallas” scored the No. 1 scripted series premiere on cable in 2012.