Patrick Duffy who plays Bobby Ewing in Dallas joined us to talk about the cancellation by TNT and the fight to find the show a new home.
Ultimate Dallas – Here we are with Patrick Duffy, the patriarch of Dallas. How are you doing today?
Patrick Duffy – (laughs) I’m doing fine. I’m a patriarch by omission, I would rather not be the patriarch if I could get Larry back. But unfortunately I’m next in line so that was it.
Ultimate Dallas – Obviously we got the news last Friday that Dallas was cancelled. Are you surprised by all the support from the fans to save the show?
Patrick Duffy – I was a bit bummed by the decision by TNT, although I do understand, they call it show business, they don’t call it show friends or show loyalty, or anything like that. So if they make a business decision based on what they see as the future of TNT I’m fine with that but I’m so happy to see the reaction of our loyal fan base.
That they really not only want the show to continue but are avid fans, really invested in the show. I guess a I’m little surprized to the extent everything has gone – the #SaveDallas campaign, signing petitions, things like that and that doesn’t go unnoticed. I don’t know if you spoke to Linda after she went to a function but she met the President of CBS, Les Moonves, and his first response to her was “You have no idea how many emails I’m getting asking me to pick up Dallas for CBS”. So all of those things count, they count greatly. I and I know Linda and the other cast members and producers, everybody involved in the show, are grateful.
Ultimate Dallas – I know that CBS is now doing summer series like Under the Dome, so if they want to stick with a 15 episode series summer is perfect for it.
Patrick Duffy – It’s perfect, especially if they want to start at the beginning and just run this as a series. It all makes perfect sense but then again it’s called show business and I’m not a business man. Hopefully somebody will consider it a great business opportunity.
Ultimate Dallas – It was left on such a cliff-hanger – who is the sister, Christopher in the car
Patrick Duffy – Well it was a surprize cancellation. If we were told it wasn’t going to go on another season they could have wrapped things up. But I think it’s to our advantage they didn’t because if we wrapped everything up there might not be the outpouring of desire to have another season to see what happens.
Ultimate Dallas – So was the cast confident it was coming back?
Patrick Duffy – I don’t think anyone had a premonition of a death knell of sorts because the network were behind our show, TNT were taken with our show through the filming. Unfortunately when we began our hiatus our main enthusiastic supporter, whom we all loved, Michael Wright left TNT and the combination of him leaving and Steve Koonin leaving, they were our two biggest supporters. I do think things happen for a reason and perhaps now there is a better place. We certainly did not have the best time slot ever on TNT. It was not a ratings driven decision, I don’t think, because we were making a great deal of money for TNT in the demographics that we were scoring heaviest in.
I believe they wanted a different concept for TNT, even though I think we are a brilliantly constructed new show, we have a certain mythology and history which says we’re thirty five years old. I think they just wanted a more youthful approach to the entire network so that’s why they did it. I’m only guessing, I have nobody on the inside feeding me information, but I think it’s happening for the best reasons and something great is going to come of it.
Ultimate Dallas – I guess it’s not like the old days when a show was cancelled it was cancelled, now there are options
Patrick Duffy – Exactly! There are so many new venues opening up, sometimes they want to establish a certain amount of credence and have an established show. That’s why I think by and large everyone is quite optimistic that something will happen. We were told we should know in the next couple of weeks, if nothing happens we all move on to the next phase of our careers.
Ultimate Dallas – So Cynthia called you with the news of the cancellation. How did that conversation go?
Patrick Duffy – Well especially with Linda and myself, we are not new kids at the picnic here, so we kind of know how it works over the past thirty five, forty years. I was grocery shopping, we were having a big family gathering the next day at the house with the kids and grandkids and I was in the middle of an aisle at a supermarket when my phone rang, I looked down and it said Cynthia. I said “Hey Cynthia how are you?” and she said “Well I’ve been better” – if you can read between the lines, I knew right then she was calling to give me the news. We told each other that we were proud of what we have done and she said she had to call all the other cast members and we would talk later, she did and we did – we cry tonight tomorrow we fight, that’s pretty much the theme.
Ultimate Dallas – Have you spoken to the other cast members?
Patrick Duffy – Not so much in person, that’s one of the great things about the ability to text, et cetera, you can contact everybody at the same time and feel the sense of community that you have. It allows you to contact everybody quickly and let everybody know you are on the same page. Linda and I talk all the time, we are having lunch today as a matter of fact, the rest of the people we always text. Over the course of the next two weeks, depending on the news, we will either talk to say goodbye and see you next time or to say congratulations I’ll see you in Dallas. Within the next two weeks everybody is going to talk to everybody.
Ultimate Dallas – Have you had any updates recently?
Patrick Duffy – I know the producers met with all the network people at Warner Brothers, not at TNT, because it is a show owned by Warner Brothers, it’s not owned by TNT. They all met, Peter Roth [President and Chief Content Officer] and all of those people and were going to campaign for the next two weeks and contact all the other venues.
I haven’t asked for nor received a voluntary update on how things are going. Things do not always happen instantly in our business as you may know. These are big decisions, anyone picking up Dallas is going to be spending millions and millions of dollars so I don’t expect that to be a kneejerk decision.
It’s going to take some time and some thought, they are going to have to figure out if it’s smart in terms of their profit margin and those things will take a little time.
I live my life normally, I’m in LA for a while to see the kids with my wife and then we go back to the ranch. We just take life everyday as it comes and so far it’s been very good to me.
Ultimate Dallas – What is the main difference between this recent cancellation and the cancellation of the original series?
Patrick Duffy – When Dallas went off the air in 91 I was more than ready for it to go off the air. By the time we did the final episode, which I was not a fan of – the whole ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ take off’, I thought we had depleted our ability to make good script decisions, the difference now is that I think we have just begun to plumb the possibilities of the stories we could do. That’s because of the brilliance of Cynthia Cidre and her writing staff, they haven’t begun to deplete their ideas and the interesting things that can happen. I’m so ready to see what a year four, a year five and a year six could possibly bring. I’m not ready for it to be cancelled but I was definitely ready in 91.
Ultimate Dallas – What’s next for you in the meantime? I know you done the show in Sweden with Greg Poehler
Patrick Duffy – I will probably do a few more of the Sweden episodes, I really enjoyed it, I really love Greg Poehler, he’s a terrific guy and I think he is going to be huge over the next few years. Other than that I sort of pick and choose, when the phone rings and I’m not working I generally say yes.
Ultimate Dallas – and finally any messages for the fans?
Patrick Duffy – My final thing and I hope it’s not final. I have such appreciation for the loyalty of the fan base and the common-sense of them. I really just want to say it doesn’t behove us at all to be against TNT for cancellation. If we take all that energy, think positively Dallas will find a new home and everybody will profit from it.
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