NEW YORK (AP) — When Larry Hagman died of cancer last November, TNT's "Dallas" reboot was put to the test over how to write his character out of the show.
Hagman's final episode ended with conniving Texas oilman J.R. Ewing talking on the phone to his son, John Ross, and the sound of gunfire reminiscent of the "Who Shot J.R.?" cliffhanger in the original CBS series, which aired from 1978 to 1991.
Now the show is embroiled in a murder mystery to find out who killed J.R.
Josh Henderson, who plays John Ross, said in a recent interview that it's strange to be on the set without Hagman.
"Not having him anymore, it's just very different, and we miss him. You know he would want nothing but for us to continue going with the show because as long as 'Dallas' is on, we'll be talking about J.R., and I'll always be trying to live up to him and it's gonna be, you know, as long as the show's on the air, he'll always be with us," Henderson said.
The 31-year-old actor said he's ready to be the main villain on "Dallas," now in its second season on TNT (Mondays, 9 p.m. EDT). The reboot has pitted cousins John Ross and Christopher (played by Jesse Metcalfe) in a battle for control of Ewing Energies.
"We've been doing this for going on two years, and I feel like I really know who John Ross is, and I really now completely understand the ups and the downs of John Ross and J.R.'s relationship and I'm excited about it. ... I think people trust me enough now ... to at least carry on the torch a little bit for the Ewings."
It's not an exaggeration to say Henderson fell into show biz.
Henderson started on the WB reality series "Popstars" in 2001, where he won a spot in a music group. Soon after, an agent asked to meet with him about the possibility of acting.
"I didn't even know what an agent was," he said. "My first audition, I didn't have a headshot, but I had a teen centerfold from the music stuff I did, and the producers of this TV show thought it was hilarious."
Henderson says his naivete worked to his advantage.
"Everything happened so quickly. I was just excited to be there. And I think that energy and that kind of, not ignorance, but I was just so green, I wasn't thinking about it, I just did it. And I think that's really what helped me."
Within three weeks of signing with an agent, he booked a TV pilot and a film on the same day.
Henderson has been recording music that hopefully will be featured on "Dallas."
Alicia Rancilio covers entertainment for The Associated Press. Follow her online at http://www.twitter.com/aliciar