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Facebook Fun: 'J.R. Ewing' Strikes Oil Again

  |  April 23, 2012   |  Comments

1980s soap "Dallas" leans on Timeline and iconic antagonist for TNT reboot.

If you want to know what's been on J.R. Ewing's mind since "Dallas" was canceled by CBS 21 years ago, check out the TV show brand's Facebook Timeline. The show, which ran for 13 years, is being re-launched by TNT.

Even though the new season doesn't premiere until June 13, the cable network has been having fun via social media in recent weeks. Especially as it concerns the iconic Ewing character, an antagonistic oil baron who is best known for his sibling rivalry with brother Bobby and occasional womanizing.

dallas-body-image"J.R." narrates the brand's entire Timeline, from 1979 until the present. There are 165 photos and 44 videos on the Facebook page, each accompanied by captions written in the character's voice. Countless other humorously designed posts exist on the page while depicting the musings of the fictional primetime legend.

Over the years, "J.R." has evidently been busy obsessing about: his son, John Ross; his brother, Bobby; his brother's son, Christopher; his ex-wife, Sue Ellen; her sister, Kristin Shepard; rival tycoon, Cliff Barnes; and oil prices. And according to the Timeline, he was involved in the XFL, a failed summertime pro football venture during the early 2000s.

Here are several examples from the Timeline:

            • April 2012: Happy Birthday to my boy, John Ross. So proud of him, following in his daddy and granddaddy's footsteps in his pursuit for oil. He'll probably never be as good as me, but there's no reason to knock him down on his special day.
            • April 2012: Congratulations Bobby, you're even more self-righteous and annoying online.
            • April 2006: Bobby's stopped coming by so often. Occasionally his wife, Ann comes by... Boy she's tall. Last time she said Christopher and Elena are back together. Puppy love grown up, and all that. Looks like John Ross missed his chance. Where the hell is that boy? I'd like to see him so I could knock some sense into him.
            • May 2001: The XFL and all its entities are no more. Official announcement coming tomorrow. The TV deal was ultimately the silver bullet, but the mood in the Owners Meeting was hardly optimistic about our long term goals. [Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones] owes me a drink or three.
            • June 1996: I'm back, and better than ever. Going to explore investing more of my savings in the oil market again. And if Lady Luck weren't smilin' down on me enough, Sue Ellen's gone and scared off another husband. Guess she and John Ross will be moving back to Dallas. Glad she's miserable, and looking forward to having my boy back.
            • May 1989: Sue Ellen made a movie about our marriage. Two thumbs down.
            • October 1979: Decided to give Sue Ellen's sister Kristin a job as my secretary. She's the prettier, less mouthy version of her sister.

Twitter Characters For "Dallas"

TNT declined to be interviewed for this story, but the Timeline strategy appears to be catching on.

"Dallas" has 660,000 Facebook fans/likes, picking up nearly 40,000 in the last few days. And Facebook's David Fischer, VP of marketing and business partnerships, mentioned the "Dallas" Timeline while citing best-of Facebook page examples at the Ad Age Digital Conference last week.

Meanwhile, copywriters for the show have been hamming it up on Twitter, too. They've created accounts for the key men in the "Dallas" family: J.R.; John Ross; Bobby; and Christopher.

Altogether, they've gained around 5,000 followers. Not surprisingly, "J.R." leads the crew with 2,800 followers.

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Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

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