Patrick Duffy, sorely missed by “Dallas” fans since his good-guy Bobby Ewing character apparently died at the end of last season, will return to the show next month.
Duffy will return to the CBS series, which has slipped from No. 2 to No. 7 in the ratings in the last year, in the season-ending cliffhanger May 16 and then next season, the producer announced.
But no one close to the show would provide further details of the actor’s resurrection, probably assuring intense viewer interest in the finale that might rival the “Who shot J.R.?” craze in 1980.
“In the tradition of ‘Dallas,’ Patrick’s character and the story line surrounding his character will not be divulged,” Lee Rich, president of Lorimar-Telepictures, said in a press release Wednesday. “We are extremely pleased to have convinced Patrick to return to the show.”
According to A. C. Nielsen Co. figures, viewing for “Dallas” has been off more than 2 1/2 million households.
“It hurt ‘Dallas’ to lose him,” said Paul Schulman, head of the Paul Schulman Co., an advertising agency. “He got a lot of fan mail.”
At the end of last season, Bobby was hit by a car and seemed to expire in a hospital room when he was taken off a respirator. This season, he was presumed dead and viewers occasionally saw his gravestone at Southfork, the Ewing ranch.
Never in the show’s eight seasons, or even in a TV movie “prequel” last month that dredged up the early years of “Dallas” decades ago, had anyone planted seeds of Bobby having a twin brother or any other long-lost relatives.
But this is soap opera, where anything can happen.