We've been waiting since at least September to see whether TNT and Warner Horizon Television would be shooting that Dallas pilot here -- ya know, in Dallas? Larry Hagman, who will be among The Holy Trinity of original cast members reprising their roles from the original CBS series, demanded as much one month ago: "It's called Dallas, for goodness sake. Where the hell [else] should we shoot it?"
Well, finally, Janis Burklund, head of the Dallas Film Commission, sends the good word: The pilot, written by Cynthia Cidre, will indeed be filmed here, beginning in just a few weeks. Says the press release that follows, "Pre-production will start immediately." Which means that with Good Christian Bitches set to roll next Monday on its pilot for ABC, Dallas will provide the backdrop for two would-be prime-time series, following last year's busy schedule that included Lone Star and Chase, both of which turned out to be short-lived.
The release that follows also contains a cast list -- which includes Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray and Chase's Jesse Metcalfe as Christopher Ewing, the adopted son of Bobby and Pam -- and the name of the pilot's exec producer and director, Michael M. Robin, whose filmography spans all the way from L.A. Law to NYPD Blue to Cop Rock (!) to The Closer. In the release, Robin and Cidre have this to say in a joint statement:
"We are so excited that we get to shoot the pilot episode of Dallas in Dallas. The city has changed so much since the original series and we can't wait to show our audience the fun, the culture, the architecture, the restaurants, the landscapes and the people that make Dallas such a vibrant and cinematic city."
To which Burklund adds this, per a follow-up conversation with Unfair Park: "Dallas had to be in Dallas. It was sort of like, 'Over my dead body ...,' and it almost became that." She laughs. It seems like only forever ago she and then-Mayor Laura Miller were demanding the producers of the never-happened big-screen Dallas shoot J.R. in Dallas.
"But we have to thank the creative team," she says. "We just walked out of dinner at The Cedars Social one night last month, and the director puts his hands up and frames the downtown skyline -- and it was particularly pretty that night, gleaming, glowing, twinkling -- and he says, 'This is one of our characters.' He sees there's a lot of value to being here. The city is part of the show. To me, it had to be here. It couldn't be somewhere else. It wouldn't have been the same show, and we would have regretted it later.
"And this shows that what happened last year wasn't a fluke. We can get multiple shows. We just have to be in a competitive position, and we can do some good work. And having both shows set in Dallas is good. We're not just standing in for somewhere else. Dallas in particular wants to show off the city."
TNT's new Dallas TV pilot will be shot in Dallas
DALLAS - Warner Horizon Television has selected Dallas as the location for the pilot of TNT's new incarnation of the popular television drama Dallas. Executive producer Cynthia Cidre, who wrote The Mambo Kings and executive produced the television series Cane, wrote the pilot based on characters created by David Jacobs. Michael M. Robin (The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, Nip/Tuck) who also executive produces will direct.
The original Dallas ran from 1978 to 1991 and followed the Ewing family of Southfork. The new version will focus on the Ewing offspring -- J.R. Ewing's son John Ross (Josh Henderson of Desperate Housewives), and Christopher, the adopted son of Bobby and Pam Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe of Desperate Housewives) -- as they clash over the family dynasty's future. Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious) stars as Elena, who is involved in a love triangle with Christopher and John Ross. Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) stars as Christopher's fiancée Rebecca. The updated Dallas will feature original series stars Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray. Hagman gained worldwide fame for his portrayal of oil baron J.R. Ewing. Gray played J.R.'s wife Sue Ellen Ewing, while Duffy portrayed J.R.'s younger brother Bobby.
"We are so excited that we get to shoot the pilot episode of Dallas in Dallas," said Cidre and Robin. "The city has changed so much since the original series and we can't wait to show our audience the fun, the culture, the architecture, the restaurants, the landscapes and the people that make Dallas such a vibrant and cinematic city." The pilot alone is expected to have a significant financial impact on the city and create many jobs for crew, actors, extras and vendors. Pre-production will start immediately, with shooting set to begin in late April.
The Dallas Film Commission is the official film commission for the Greater Dallas area. It mission includes marketing and promoting the area to content creators; serving as the primary liaison between the industry, government and the community as well as educating, promoting and advocating for growth of the local industry. In November 2009 the film commission transitioned to the City of Dallas Office of Economic Development to provide a more synergistic approach to growing the City's targeted media industries, which has resulted in an unprecedented increase in production, particularly in television.
Warner Horizon Television (WHTV) is one of the industry's fastest-growing television companies, specializing in the creation of scripted series for cable and primetime reality series for both network and cable. Founded in 2006, this second production entity allows the Warner Bros. Television Group to expand its programming offerings and explore creative options made possible under a new business model. WHTV is currently producing more than a dozen projects. Its unscripted shows include The Bachelor; The Bachelorette; Bachelor Pad and the upcoming Take the Money and Run for ABC; The Voice for NBC and Randy Jackson Presents America's Best Dance Crew for MTV, among others. Scripted programs from WHTV include Rizzoli & Isles and Memphis Beat for TNT, Pretty Little Liars and the upcoming The Lying Game for ABC Family.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.