The farewell, funeral episode for J.R. Ewing on “Dallas” was a big hit last night. “JR’s Masterpiece” brought in 3.56 million viewers and a 0.9 in the 18-49 age range demo. That’s a major leap from the prior two weeks, which were an average of 2.5 million. On regular TV those numbers wouldn’t be so great, but on cable, it’s a hit.
Can “Dallas” survive going forward without J.R./Larry Hagman? It does seem like TNT tried to lure Victoria Principal back as Pam Ewing, which would have been the ratings coup of all time. But Principal and “Dallas” always had a bad relationship. Principal must have asked for a fortune. In the end, she issued a statement saying she wouldn’t return.
The “Dallas” producers must have thought they’d make their deal with her before the funeral episode aired, because they allude to Pam Ewing being alive somewhere. Whoops! Principal is no easy customer. It’s too bad she won’t do it. Life is too short for this nonsense.
Meantime, much as shows like “Dallas” never get Emmy awards, I do think Linda Gray merits one for her work in this episode. Her funeral speech was brilliant. It was good as anything from HBO or Showtime.