On TV, Anyway, Texas Is the New New Jersey

I'm waiting on a phone call. Could be something good. Something big. Or not. But while we wait for that, let's kill time with this: a series of meet-the-cast videos from Most Eligible Dallas, which premieres one week from tonight on the Bravo. Only reason I remembered was a weekend piece that ran in The Los Angeles Times about how, thanks to Good Christian Whatevers (which isn't shooting here) and TNT's Dallas (which is) and Bravo's Most Eligible spinoff and so forth, "Texas is riding a wave of popularity on TV." Which means:

With the current surge, Texas may have just shoved New Jersey off its perch as one of TV's most popular backdrops for scripted and reality shows.

Rather than attribute the interest to the emergence of the "tea party" or other vocal conservative movements, industry watchers said it's likely that the generous tax breaks for filming and the state's romantic history, à la Giant, John Wayne flicks and sweeping James Michener epics, have Hollywood roped and tied. In 2009, the state tripled its annual budget from roughly $20 million to $60 million for filming incentives - a move that ultimately saved production companies between 5% and 15%.

"The vastness, the opulence, the wealth and the grandiloquent way it's often expressed are kind of hard to resist," said Joshua Gunn, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin. "The regional mythology has been rooted deep into popular culture for generations."

On the other side, meet the cast. Hard. Not sure which is worse -- this or this.

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