Dallas was a CBS network prime time soap opera series created by David Jacobs which first premiered on April 2, 1978.
The series was famous for its cliffhangers including the "Who shot J.R.?" mystery. The 1980 episode "Who Done It" remains the second highest rated prime-time telecast ever
The series ended on May 3, 1991 after 14 seasons and 357 episodes which makes it one of the longest lasting full-hour primetime dramas in American TV history behind other TV series such as "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (with 366+ episodes), "Bonanza" (with 430 episodes), "Law & Order" (with 456 episodes) and "Gunsmoke" (with 635 episodes).
A spin-off series "Knots Landing" aired in 1979, lasting for 14 seasons until 1993 and a revival of "Dallas" aired on the TNT network from 2012 to 2014.
"Dallas" originally as a five-part miniseries on CBS and producers initially had no plans to expand the show, but due to its popularity, it was subsequently turned into a regular series. The first five episodes of the series (originally considered a miniseries) are now referred to as season one (making it fourteen seasons in total).
"Dallas" is known for its portrayal of wealth, sex, intrigue and power struggles.
The series originally focused on the marriage of Bobby Ewing and Pamela Barnes, whose families were sworn enemies with each other, but as the series progressed, oil tycoon J. R. Ewing grew to be the show's main character, whose schemes and dirty business became the trademark of the show.
Most of the seasons ended with ratings-grabbing cliffhangers, the most notable being the season three finale "A House Divided" which launched the landmark "Who shot J.R.?" storyline.
Other season finale cliffhangers include the finding of an unidentified floating female corpse in the Southfork swimming pool (in season four); a blazing house fire (in season six); and Bobby's death (in season eight) & subsequent return (in season nine).
- Larry Hagman as John Ross "J.R." Ewing, Jr.
- Patrick Duffy as Robert "Bobby" James Ewing [seasons 1-8; 10-14 ]
- Victoria Principal as Pamela Jean "Pam" Barnes Haynes Ewing [seasons 1-10]
- Linda Gray as Sue Ellen Shepard Ewing Lockwood [seasons 1-12]
- Charlene Tilton as Lucy Ann Ewing Cooper [seasons 1-8; 12-13]
- Steve Kanaly as Raymond "Ray" Krebbs [seasons 1-11]
- Ken Kercheval as Clifford "Cliff" Barnes
- Barbara Bel Geddes as Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Southworth Ewing Farlow [seasons 1-7; 9-14]
- Donna Reed as Eleanor "Miss Ellie" Southworth Ewing Farlow #2 [season 8]
- Jim Davis as John Ross "Jock" Ewing, Sr. [seasons 1-4]
- Susan Howard as Donna Culver Krebbs Dowling [seasons 3-10]
- Howard Keel as Clayton Farlow [seasons 5-14]
- Priscilla Presley as Jenna Wade Marchetta Krebbs [seasons 7-11]
- Dack Rambo as Jack Ewing [seasons 9-11]
- Sheree J. Wilson as April Stevens Ewing [seasons 10-14]
- Cathy Podewell as Calpurnia Elizabeth "Cally" Harper Ewing [seasons 12-14]
- Sasha Mitchell as James Richard Beaumont [seasons 13-14]
- April 2–30, 1978: Sundays, 10:00 PM (ET/PT)/9:00 PM (CT/MT)
- September 23-October 14, 1978: Saturdays, 10:00/9:00 PM
- October 15, 1978-January 14, 1979: Sundays, 10:00/9:00 PM
- January 26, 1979-November 27, 1981: Fridays, 10:00/9:00 PM
- December 4, 1981- March 16, 1990: Fridays, 9:00/8:00 PM
- March 30- December 21, 1990: Fridays, 10:00/9:00 PM
- January 4-May 3, 1991: Fridays, 9:00/8:00 PM
"Dallas" originally aired on Saturday nights when it debuted as a regular series. Within a month, it was moved to Sunday nights where it would stay until halfway through the season when it took a Friday-night slot.
The show remained on Fridays until the show ended in 1991, alternating between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. airings.
The "Who Done It" episode of "Dallas" that revealed who shot J. R.? (the famous 1980 cliffhanger) received the highest domestic ratings at that point with over 90 million American viewers (representing more than 53% of the U.S. households and 76% of the U.S. television audience for November 21, 1980) tuning in for the answer.
The episode surpassed the ratings record of the final episode of "The Fugitive" (which was broadcast in August 1967) but the record of "Dallas" would be broken only by the last episode of M*A*S*H in 1983, falling into the second internationally most watched U.S. television episode with nearly 360 million viewers in over 57 countries worldwide (by the year 1980) tuning in to see who shot J.R.
Although the soap's audience had consistently declined since the "Who Done It" episode of 1980, the series finale of Dallas, "Conundrum" garnered 33 million viewers and a 22 household rating from 9-11pm on May 3, 1991, becoming the country's 14th most watched television series finale. Its competition, "Manhunter" (on NBC), only drew a 9.8 rating.