'Dallas': Producers of TNT series staying faithful to original

dallas-tnt-cast.jpgThe new "Dallas" that debuts in the summer is not a remake or a reboot. TNT really, really wants you to know that.

In fact, executive producer Cynthia Cidre says, she never gave any thought to trying to remake the legendary drama. Instead, she chose to pick up the story of the Ewings 20 years later, with J.R. ( Larry Hagman), Bobby ( Patrick Duffy) and Sue Ellen ( Linda Gray) fully involved.

"I couldn't imagine making a remake," Cidre said Saturday (Jan. 14) at the TV critics' press tour. "That would just be -- I don't know. We've seen it. There were 357 episodes. These lovely actors were, thank goodness, still around and wanted to be in the show, and it just seemed natural to catch up with the Ewing family we loved 20 years later and see where they were at this point in their lives."

The show will focus heavily on the rivalry between J.R.'s son John Ross ( Josh Henderson) and Bobby's adopted son Christopher ( Jesse Metcalfe), but Cidre says fans of the original series will see plenty of what she calls "the big three."

"It was never the intent to use ... Larry, Linda and Patrick as bait for the new show," Cidre says. "It was really to integrate them fully with the new cast."

So far, so good, Duffy says: "Larry, Linda and I had dinner with [Cidre and fellow EP Michael Robin] a year ago in February, and one of the first things they said was they laid out their respect for original show and their determination to maintain that quality when the show was resumed. ... They've been absolutely flawless in keeping that promise episode by episode."

Cidre and Robin also say they're staying true to the first "Dallas" by making sure that actions characters take in the new series don't negate things that happened in the past.

"Hopefully we haven't stepped on anything," Robin says.

"Yes," Cidre adds. "Surely there will be some e-mail about something, but [if a mistake happens] it was an accident."
Photo/Video credit: TNT