Dallas fans, keep those save-the-show campaigns going, and keep the show alive with social media mentions. That's the word from Dallas reboot creator and showrunner Cynthia Cidre, who tells Yahoo TV she's still optimistic the series will find a new home, after TNT canceled the show shortly after airing its explosive (literally) Season 3 finale.
Cidre, who has a detailed framework for Season 4 all planned out, with even the script for the season premiere all ready to go, says she and the cast and crew are in such good shape that they could be ready to begin production on a new season in as little as five weeks. That, she hopes, will be one of the selling points for potential new cable network homes as executives from Warner Bros., the production company behind Dallas, try to set it up elsewhere.
Cidre talked to Yahoo TV about the surprise and disappointment of not getting a green light for another round at TNT, where else she thinks the show could fit in nicely (not Netflix: Read on for the reason why), and how she and the cast and crew appreciate and encourage the fans to continue to voice their love for more Ewing adventures.
How surprised were you when you got the call informing you the show wouldn't continue at TNT?
First of all, let me say that I am not an optimist by nature, but I do actually believe that we have a chance at other networks. I know that Warner Bros. and [head of Warner Bros. Television] Peter Roth in particular, who is our greatest champion, are going to be out there very soon trying to set us up somewhere else. I do have a bible for the next 15 episodes, and I turned in [Episode] 401 two days before we got canceled. The next day, the next writer turned in 402, and another writer turned in 403. It's not like we're pitching a blind show to somebody. It's a show where you know what it's been like for three years, and now, here, we can tell you what it's going to be like in the fourth season.
[Related: 'Dallas' Season 3 Finale Recap]
You had a lot of reasons to be optimistic when the season ended on such a big storyline, big character death, big cliffhanger.
Yes, we had almost every reason to be optimistic, which was that they had paid us an awful lot of money, keeping us alive with stages, and offices, and the writers, and the bible, and the first two scripts. And then the extra $100,000 they paid, what it cost to blow up Christopher in the car, which we did just two weeks before we aired and which we didn't have to do if we weren't going to get picked up. We could have just finished the [season] the way we had originally shot it. Because of Christopher's death, we had so many storylines going forward: Bobby's grief, Elena's guilt, do we get the person who killed him? I would have loved the respect of getting another season, just to end it. We even had that. We had a version of it thatwould not have ended with a big cliffhanger, that would have had the resolution of the show.
However, at a certain time you have a radar about the situation, and the fact that we had lost our two greatest champions, when [Turner Entertainment Networks president] Steve Koonin and [TNT head of programming] Michael Wright left, was not a good thing. And that it took so long [to make a decision about Dallas's future], and that they had so loudly announced the fact that they wanted to change the network completely… it didn't bode well. It just took too long. When people love you, they tell youthey love you sooner than that. So, I had started to mourn the show [at TNT]. By the time I actually got the phone call, it wasn't a relief, but at least I didn't live in limbo anymore.
Can you talk about what that non-cliffhanger ending would have been?
I don't want to tell you yet, because what if we go somewhere else? We had a really fun cliffhanger coming for the end of Season 4, too.
So, moving forward, are the cast members still contracted to the show?
Yes, I think the studio has a hold on them for at least another month, month and a half. And this is sad for them, too. We've been in touch. On Friday night, I had the writers and some editors over to my house, just a Mulberry Street Pizza, beer, and howling-at-the-moon evening. The last person left about 2:45 a.m., and then I was up another hour looking online at [reactions] from all of our wonderful fans. I was about to go to bed around 4, and Patrick Duffy texted, and I'm like, "Really? Why are you up, Patrick?" Then Linda Gray texted, then Josh Henderson texted, "Well, I haven't gone to sleep." Patrick is like, "Neither am I." Then [executive producer] Mike Robin texted, "Me, too." We were texting each other until like 6:30 in the morning. I haven't [stayed up all night talking] like that since I was about 22. This is a close bunch, cast and crew, and we all want the show to move forward.
After AMC canceled The Killing for the final time, Netflix picked it up for one season, which at least provided an opportunity to wrap up storylines. Is that a possibility for Dallas?
I wish that were the case, because that was absolutely everybody's first thought, but unfortunately I don't believe that our foreign deals allow that. A streaming service is not compatible with our foreign deals, unfortunately, because those deals are all very profitable, and the rest of the world loves Dallas. So I think we're looking at cable. There's CMT, there's Reelz, there's WGN, there are a lot of possibilities.
The fans have mobilized. A save-the-show petition has more than 72,000 signatures as of earlier today, and people are tweeting and posting on Facebook about their love for Dallas. What else would you advise them to do?
It is very gratifying — the love for the show — to all of us. Other than them just trying to change their network, so that it's all about young people, I don't know what they can do. They can just keep calling, they can send in the signatures, they can send letters. I don't know when that's ever worked, but I sure hope it does. It surely will help us with the next phase. Whoever else is interested in seeing that kind of [show] ... because our fans are devoted. Their hair's on fire. We may only get 3.3 million [viewers] or something, but those are people you can count on and who will find it if it moves to a different network. You don't even have to do this massive advertising. It's not like a casual fan who drops in and enjoys the show for three weeks and then decides they're going to go watch something else.