"Dallas," the iconic series that made Friday nights "Must See TV" long before NBC did the same for Thursdays with their classic series of comedies, was well represented at the recent CMA Music Festival.
Saturday night at the Country Music Hall of Fame a TNT gave those in attendance a chance to view the first episode of the updated version of the series, which premieres this Wednesday.
If you are thinking that a tie to country music might be a little far fetched -- consider these facts. The show often filmed at the legendary Fort Worth club Billy Bob's. Charlene Tilton, aka Lucy Ewing, was married to 1980s country star Johnny Lee, and Linda Gray, known throughout the world as Sue Ellen, was once married to art director Ed Thrasher, who shot album covers for some of the best in the business -- including Buck Owens.
Fans who tune in on June 13 will hear quite a bit of country music on the show, and according to series star Josh Henderson (John Ross), it's a natural fit. "I think that Dallas has such a widespread audience that it covers everything, but obviously country music is such a big deal in Texas, and there's a lot of it at the Ewing Barbecues, and 'Dallas' is a country show with the ranch and the horses. I think it goes hand in hand. We feel great to be here," he said of the appearance over the weekend at the festival.
For Gray, the weekend was very special -- one that reminded her of how powerful music is to the soul, as well as to the new series.
"We went to see Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton last night at LP Field, and to be in that crowd and people pour all that love onto that stage was amazing. It touches your heart and soul. I remember in 1978 learning how to line dance for the role, and now we have Adele singing the last song in the show. It's very special," she said of the role that music has in the new series.
The show brings the Ewing saga up-to-date, focusing on the characters of John Ross (Henderson) and Christopher (Jessie Metcalfe). In the initial episode, Henderson definitely fills the rols of antagonist - much the same way his on-screen father, Larry Hagman, did in 1978. He says that just like Hagman -- he enjoys playing the villian.
"It is fun," he says. "I try to keep that in my mind when going to work. Even if I'm angry, or being backed into a corner and having to fight Uncle Bobby, I try to tell myself to just have fun. That's what the original three always did. We learned that from them. They made work fun, even if you weren't having fun in a scene."
Gray, Hagman, and Patrick Duffy reprise their roles from the 1978-1991 series, with Charlene Tilton and Steve Kanaly making guest appearances, with possibly others from the original cast to follow.
Henderson says that it's a fast pace. TNT will present 10 episodes this summer, while the original series featured between twenty-two to thirty each season.
"It moves fast. Larry has been quoted that a new episode of 'Dallas' is like five crammed into one. I don't think anyone will be disappointed or bored. A lot of stuff happens very quickly. I can't wait for people to see it."
"Dallas" premieres Wednesday, June 13 at 9pm EST / 8PM CST on TNT.