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'Dallas': Everything old is new again

January 14, 2012 |  3:23 pm

Dallas pic

The groundbreaking prime-time soap "Dallas" is returning to TNT this summer, but don't you dare call it a remake or a reboot. The iconic stars of the original "Dallas" are blending with new, young cast members to continue the story of the oil- and cattle-rich Ewing dynasty.

The cast of the new version came together during the TNT portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour. And yes, Larry Hagman, who plays the ruthless and charismatic J.R. Ewing, wore a Stetson.

Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing, said he had never imagined that he would ever reunite with Hagman and costar Linda Gray for another go at the series. He called it "the heartbreak of my career" because he couldn't see a circumstance that the three would ever work together again. "This is the best thing that could have happened in my life," he said.

After a beat, Hagman quipped, "I got a tear in my eye."

The original stars will be joined by Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson and Julie Gonzalo (let's see if they call them the Four J's).

Hagman, 80, who announced last year that he had been diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer, said he was doing well and felt strong. When asked what was best about his new gig, he said "Work at 80! And doing a job I love. I feel very lucky."

Gray said she and her original colleagues love working on the new series. "This is a lovely continuation."

Cynthia Cidre, one of the executive producers, said the original "Dallas" stars were not being used "as bait" to bring a new audience into the show. "They are integrated fully into the new cast."

Although producers hope to capture some of the popularity that made "Dallas" such a smash hit, Hagman had an offbeat theory for why audiences gravitated to the show.

"It was during the Great Recession, and people couldn't afford to go out and hire babysitters," he said. "So they stayed home. And there we were!"


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Photo: Larry Hagman, left, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy and Brenda Strong in TNT's new "Dallas." Credit: TNT