TNT’s ‘Dallas’ season 3 debate: The summer / winter struggle

TNTIs it a smart move or not to air new episodes of cable series against broadcast competition? This is a question that is certainly worth exploring, especially in the context of a series that sits firmly on the bubble as a part of this experiment: TNT’s “Dallas.”

As you recall, the network premiered the revival of the popular primetime soap last summer, and the ratings ranged between fantastic (for the premiere) and still pretty great (for the finale). Not only were the ten episodes enough to convince the network to renew the series, but they decided to air the 15 episodes in the winter / spring, that way viewers would not have to sit around and wait very long to see more of John Ross, Bobby, and the rest of the cast. In theory, this was a pretty smart move, and thanks to the filming schedule they were able to craft a story around the tragic passing of Larry Hagman.

However, the result of airing against other network shows led to some much lower ratings. While “The Voice,” “The Bachelor” (in the earlier months), and “Dancing with the Stars” were not identical audiences, they did cause some trouble for the show at times. The same goes for the 10:00 p.m. competitors “Hawaii Five-0” and “Castle,” which we assume are probably sharing quite a few viewers with the soap given that they are mostly older audiences, and the two shows certainly have a nostalgic feel to them.

Even with lower ratings, one advantage to keeping “Dallas” on in part during the winter months is simple: more promotion. TNT cannot possibly just air new programming in the summer and forget about the rest of the year, since eventually that will lead to summer erosion, as well. Who knows? The network may be getting great DVR numbers, but the live viewers for both “Dallas” and “Southland” (which is a little more likely to be canceled) suffer in part thanks to the time of year in which they air.

At the end of the day, we feel that the “Dallas” situation will unfold as follows: If TNT cancels the show, there will probably be fury from fans and will blame over it airing in the winter; however, if it is renewed, we have a feeling that most fans won’t care what the ratings are so long as they are getting new episodes.

What’s your take on this “Dallas” debate, and do you think that the show should stay permanently in the summer? If you want to look at what you could expect if the show is renewed, be sure to visit the link here.

Photo: TNT

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