The series is made for TNT, sister company to Warner Bros. Television, which has owned the original series since its purchase of Lorimar Television (the original show's production company) in 1989. On July 8, 2011, after viewing the completed pilot episode, TNT gave a green light for the series with a 10-episode order, which premiered on June 13, 2012. On June 29, 2012, TNT renewed Dallas for a second season consisting of 15 episodes, which premiered on January 28, 2013. On April 30, 2013, TNT renewed Dallas for a third season consisting of 15 episodes that premiered on Monday, February 24, 2014.
The series revolves around the Ewings, a wealthy Dallas family in the oil and cattle-ranching industries. It focuses mainly on Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe), the adopted son of Bobby (Patrick Duffy) and the late Pamela Barnes Ewing (Victoria Principal), and John Ross Ewing III (Josh Henderson), the son of J. R. (Larry Hagman) and Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray). Both John Ross and Christopher were born during the original series' run and were featured in it as children (although played by different actors). Now grown up, John Ross has become almost a carbon copy of his father, bent on oil, money, and greed. Christopher, meanwhile, has become a lot like Bobby, in that he is more interested in the upkeep of Southfork Ranch, much like his adoptive father. As an additional point of contention, Christopher is also becoming a player in alternative energy (methane clathrate recovery), thereby eschewing the oil business. However John Ross is determined to resurrect the Ewings' former position in the oil industry. John Ross states in season one that he is J. R.'s eldest child, which contradicts the original series (a twenty-three year old James Beaumont was J. R.'s first-born in seasons 12–13).
New main characters that made their appearance in the first season included Bobby's third wife, Ann (Brenda Strong); Christopher's new wife Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing (Julie Gonzalo), daughter of Cliff Barnes and Afton Cooper, introduced as Rebecca Sutter; and Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster), the daughter of Ewing family cook Carmen Ramos (Marlene Forte), who is caught in a love triangle with Christopher and John Ross. Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), plays Ann's villainous ex-husband. New main characters that made their appearance in the second season included Ann and Harris's daughter, Emma (Brown) Ryland (Emma Bell); and Elena Ramos's brother Drew Ramos (Kuno Becker). Other, new characters were also introduced during the second season Judith (Brown) Ryland (Judith Light) as Harris Ryland's hyper controlling mother & Ken Richards (Lee Majors) a man from Sue Ellen's past.
Prior to Dallas, Cidre was best known for producing and writing episodes of Cane, an American television drama that chronicled the lives and internal power struggles of a powerful and wealthy Cuban-American family running an immensely successful rum and sugar cane business in South Florida. In 2010, TNT announced it would order a pilot for the continuation of the Dallas series. The pilot was filmed in and around the city of Dallas in early 2011. Production began in late August 2011 in Dallas on the remaining nine episodes in the first season order, based in studios constructed for the Fox television series The Good Guys.
Executive producer Cynthia Cidre wrote the pilot script, while Michael M. Robin served as the director and executive producer for the pilot. David Jacobs reviewed Cidre's pilot script and gave his blessing to the new series though he has chosen not to participate in its production. A dispute erupted when the opening credits were originally planned to read "Developed by Cynthia Cidre, based on Dallas created by David Jacobs". But upon the determination of the Writers Guild of America's screenwriting credit system, there are currently two separate credits: one listing Jacobs as the show's sole creator and another listing Cidre as the new show's developer.
A sneak preview of the series, including clips from the pilot episode, aired on July 11, 2011, during an episode of TNT's Rizzoli & Isles. Patrick Duffy stated that the new show is "exactly the same [as the old show], but it's 2012. We consider this year 14 of the show. It's exactly as if [viewers] forgot which channel we were on."
The new series is a continuation of the old series following a 20-year break, during which the characters and their relationships continued unseen until today. It does not take the events of the reunion TV movies Dallas: J. R. Returns or Dallas: War of the Ewings into account. Instead, we find the characters having evolved over the last 20 years. Cynthia Cidre, show developer, has confirmed that the new series does not pick up from where the TV movies left off because the movies had tried to resolve lingering plotlines in two hours. It continues from the events of the 14th season, their development and consequences extrapolated to 2012.
Cynthia Cidre, Bruce Rasmussen, Michael M. Robin, Ken Topolsky and Bryan J. Raber serve as executive producers for the show. Rasmussen had previously worked as the supervising producer with the hit TV series Roseanne, for which he was awarded the Golden Globe.
In the first two seasons, Jesse Bochco and Michael M. Robin have been the most prolific directors, each directing five episodes.
Unlike the original series, which did limited location shooting in Texas but was filmed primarily in Los Angeles, principal photography for the new series takes place in and around Dallas. The new series is also doing location shooting at the actual Southfork Ranch in the northern Dallas suburb of Parker.
The opening sequence features a shortened version of the original theme music, and echoes the original series opening with modernized shots of Dallas in sliding panels. Unlike the original series, the actors are not listed alphabetically and, for seasons 1 and 2, there are no images of the actors seen in the credits. Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe alternate top billing, and the original stars are credited at the end ("with Patrick Duffy", "and Linda Gray", "and Larry Hagman as J. R. Ewing" until Hagman's death in season 2. The Dallas logo scrolls from left to right, rather than zooming upwards as it did on the original series. The sequence ends on a shot with the camera flying towards Southfork similar to the shot in the original titles where the camera flies over the gate towards Southfork. The season 3 titles feature the return of the iconic 3 way split opening, similar to those used in the original series for its first 11 years, with moving images of the actors. In addition, the Dallas season 3 logo zooms upward as it did on the original series.
Josh Henderson as John Ross Ewing III, the son of J. R. and Sue Ellen. Ambitious and anxious to prove himself by following in his father's footsteps, he is determined to start drilling for oil at Southfork. In the episode 'Love & Family' he marries Pamela Rebecca Barnes.
Jordana Brewster as Elena Ramos, the daughter of the Ewing family cook, and childhood friend of Christopher and John Ross, both of whom are in love with her. She has a masters degree in energy resources. She is Christopher's fiancée.
Julie Gonzalo as Pamela Rebecca Barnes, Under the alias of Rebecca Sutter she marries Christopher in the pilot and was pregnant with twins but miscarried them in "Guilt & Innocence". It is revealed in the season one finale that she is Cliff Barnes's daughter with Afton Cooper. In the episode "Love & Family", her marriage to Christopher is finally annulled, and she and John Ross get married at the end of the episode.
Brenda Strong as Ann Ewing, Bobby's third wife and an old friend of Sue Ellen. She has assumed the role of matriarch of Southfork while dealing with her ruthless brother-in-law J. R. Ewing and her ex-husband Harris Ryland.
Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing, the youngest son of Jock and Miss Ellie and the adoptive father of Christopher. A family man at heart and owner of the Southfork Ranch, Bobby is determined to keep the promise he made to his now-deceased mother: never to allow oil drilling on Southfork.
Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Ewing, the mother of John Ross and J. R.'s ex-wife. Since leaving J. R., Sue Ellen has grown confident and influential with a budding career in politics and ran for governor. She still harbours feelings of guilt for using John Ross in revenge against J.R. during his childhood.
Larry Hagman as J. R. Ewing, (seasons 1–2, 3) The eldest son of Jock and Miss Ellie and John Ross's late father. A cunning and ruthless oil baron, J. R. has spent his recent years in a nursing home, being treated for clinical depression. Hagman died during production of season 2, signalling the on-screen death of J. R. Ewing. J.R. will return in 2014 in season 3 using unused footage of the character.
Emma Bell as Emma Brown (season 2–present) Daughter of Ann Ewing and Harris Ryland. Her birth name is revealed in the second season as Emma Judith Ryland. She starts romances with John Ross and Drew Ramos.
Mitch Pileggi as Harris Ryland (season 2–present, recurring previously), the head of Ryland Transport and Ann's ex-husband. Ruthless, narcissistic and always eager for more power, he has been shown enjoying tormenting his former wife, as well as trying to blackmail Sue Ellen and suing Bobby. It is revealed during the season two finale that Ryland's transport company is also a front for cocaine smuggling where the contraband is pressure molded in the guise of designer knockoff merchandise, in this case, women's shoes. Note: Pileggi previously played a very minor character named Evan Scott Morrisey who was in conflict with J. R. (4 episode appearance from 1989–90, see film bio of actor for source)
Kuno Becker as Drew Ramos (season 3–present; recurring, season 2; main), Elena's troubled brother. He witnessed his father's death, which turned him into an angry juvenile delinquent. He ended up enlisting in the military and after a tour in Iraq straightened him up, he found work on oil rigs all over the globe. He is on the run now after blowing up the Ewing rig. In the episode Denial, Anger, and Acceptance, he is revealed as the mastermind of setting Southfork Ranch on fire where he allegedly planted an IED (improvised explosive device) in disguise as an air freshener when Sue Ellen was on a drinking binge, who ends up burning up John Ross' wedding invitation card where the open flame triggered the IED; for his part in taking revenge against the Ewings, he is executed by Luis (one of the Ochoa-Mendez cartel hitmen who arrived in Dallas after Nicolas called several O-M enforcers to arrive). Nicolas gave the order right after the official news that Sue Ellen started the fire.
Juan Pablo Di Pace as Nicolas Treviño (season 3–present), a powerful self-made billionaire businessman from Mexico who comes across as a good, genuine guy, even though there are darker parts of his personality which he's hiding (the episode Denial, Anger, and Acceptance reveals that he is an enforcer with the Ochoa-Mendez drug cartel about to use Ewing Global to launder drug cartel profits.
Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes (season 1–present), the long-time rival of J. R., as well as the half-brother of Christopher's adoptive mother and Bobby's first wife, Pamela Barnes Ewing. At the end of the original series, Cliff managed to gain control of Ewing Oil and now – wealthier than ever – his ongoing feud with the Ewings in general and J. R. in particular, continues. As shown in the first season finale, Cliff is behind Rebecca's scheming, as Rebecca's identity as Cliff's daughter is revealed. He was a main character in the original series, appearing throughout its run.
Judith Light as Judith Brown Ryland (season 2–present), Harris Ryland's mother, "an authoritative and controlling battleaxe who will fight to the death to protect the people she loves". She is majority stockholder in Ryland Transportation.
Leonor Varela as Veronica Martinez/Marta Del Sol (season 1), a mentally unstable con artist who pretends to be a Mexican heiress. She is involved with J. R. and John Ross's plans to take over Southfork, until they turn on her and she is murdered by Vicente's gang.
Callard Harris as Tommy Sutter (season 1), Rebecca's supposed older brother, involved in her plot to extort money from Christopher. It is eventually revealed he and Rebecca are not actually brother and sister, but lovers. As Rebecca's feelings for Christopher grow stronger, her and Tommy's relationship begins to crack, until Rebecca kills Tommy in self-defense during a fight.
Kevin Page as Steven "Bum" Jones (season 1-present), J.R. Ewing's private investigator, confidant, friend and right-hand man; he is later complicit in J.R.'s plot against Cliff Barnes to frame Cliff for his death (knowing his cancer would eventually take his life). Bum later begins working for John Ross after J.R.'s death.
Lee Majors as Ken Richards, an old admirer of Sue Ellen's and a commissioner of T.E.S.H.A., a state agency looking into Christopher's rig explosion.
Steven Weber as Governor Sam McConaughey, who joins forces with Cliff Barnes and Harris Ryland to try and take down the Ewings. It was revealed that when Barnes and Ryland joined forces, McConaughey's campaign for governor was aided greatly by Ryland
Faran Tahir as Frank Ashkani (seasons 1–2), Cliff's menacing right hand man. Born Rahid Durani in Islamabad, he was taken off the streets by Cliff some 30 years ago. Cliff gave him a proper education, eventually hired him as his private driver, and "adopted" him as a son. Marginalized and betrayed by Cliff, Askani began colluding with J. R. Cliff learned of the defection, he set up Ashkani to take the rap for Tommy's murder and convinced him to make a statement at the clearing Rebecca, and to afterwards commit suicide by swallowing a poison pill Cliff gave him. Ashkani made the statement and committed suicide while being arraigned for Tommy Sutter's murder.
Carlos Bernard as Vicente Cano (seasons 1–2), a Venezuelan businessman who finances J. R. and John Ross' deal with Veronica. When the Ewings fail to hold up their end of the deal, he turns violent. He eventually is sentenced to prison, after federal agents raid his house. In season 2, he escapes from the supervision of the Venezuelan consul general while awaiting extradition. He holds the Ewings hostage at Southfork to force Christopher to turn over his methane extraction technology, but this attempt fails and he is shot dead by Elena's brother Drew.
AnnaLynne McCord as Heather (season 3), one of the workers in Southfork Ranch's cattle operations 
Donny Boaz as Bo McCabe (season 2 - present, recurring) - a worker in Southfork Ranch's cattle operations first seen in the episode A Call To Arms as a drug pusher where Emma Ryland was scoring painkillers. In Season 3, he is the ex-husband of Heather who has a child when they were briefly married. He is a former professional bull rider who was injured where he has a dark secret - prescription drug addiction to painkillers and dealing drugs which John Ross uncovers in the episode Playing Chicken.
Jude Demorest as Candace Shaw - John Ross' secretary who is also a prostitute connected to Judith Ryland's prostitution ring. John Ross later has her terminated for unwanted sexual advances which results in her firing by Harris Ryland - she later faces Emma to the point where her family's illegal activities (her dad's business with the Ochoa-Mendez drug cartel, the CIA, and her grandmother's prostitution ring) were part of a plot to bring down Ewing Global.
Fran Kranz as Hunter McKay- he's the grandson of original character Carter McKay, played by George Kennedy. Hunter works with Nicolas Trevino to get Ewing global stocks.
The first season premiered on June 13, 2012, and introduces the central characters of the show: John Ross Ewing III, Christopher Ewing, Elena Ramos, Rebecca Sutter, Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing and J. R. Ewing. The main focus of the first season is the discovery of oil reserves on Southfork by John Ross and attempts by him and his father, J. R. to wrest the land from Bobby. Other storylines in this season include the love triangle between John Ross, Christopher and Elena, Christopher's marriage to Rebecca, Sue Ellen's plans to run for Governor of Texas and Bobby's health problems.
Advance screening reviews of the series were generally positive from critics on Metacritic. On June 29, 2012, TNT renewed Dallas for a second season consisting of 15 episodes, which premiered on January 28, 2013. The second season has received positive notice, with a score of 82/100 from reviews on Metacritic.
In Australia on the Nine Network's primary channel from August 22, 2012 (Wednesdays), then moved to their HD channel GEM from May 16, 2013 for the last three episodes of season one. Season two premiered on Fox8 from October 2013 (Mondays) and then the Nine Network's primary channel from November 20, 2013 (Wednesdays late-night).
In France on TF1 (Season 1) from June 22, 2013 (Season 1: Prime time broadcast with three episodes every Saturday) til July 6, 2013, then moved to Saturdays later-night (23:15 instead of 20:50 for its finale) til July 7, 2013. Season two on NT1 from September 4, 2013 (Wednesdays prime-time).