By Lynette Rice
Updated September 24, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Hold on to your cowboy hats, Dallas fans: Hollywood is attempting (yet again) to revisit the classic CBS show that aired from 1978 to 1991. TNT announced last week that it has ordered a pilot written by Cynthia Cidre (Cane) that focuses on the sons of J.R. and Bobby Ewing. The new iteration will have a contemporary feel, but the network promises to pay homage to the old series. ”This is not a remake as much as it is a continuation,” says Michael Wright, TNT’s head of programming. ”It takes the next generation of Ewings and continues the battle.”

This isn’t the first time that someone’s tried to revive the Texas oil family drama. In 2006, Twentieth Century Fox decided to adapt the soap for the big screen, closing deals with John Travolta, Jennifer Lopez, and Luke Wilson. But then research indicated that the Dallas brand didn’t mean much to younger moviegoers, says a source close to the project. Travolta and Lopez soon dropped out. ”There was so much money invested from the development that even if they made it for cheap, it would still be a really expensive movie,” the insider says. Yet hunger for the show itself never waned: Dallas syndicates in 60 countries today, and Larry Hagman, who played J.R., continues to make appearances on behalf of the show. ”It’s like an annuity, really,” Hagman, 78, tells EW. ”I go out, they adore me, and then they pay you. What better job can you have?”

And it looks like it’s only going to get better. TNT has already approached Hagman about appearing in the pilot, though he doesn’t know how the show will evolve if it’s picked up. (Cidre is staying mum on her vision for now.) But Hagman does understand the enduring quality of Dallas, which still holds the record for producing the third-most-watched episode in TV history, with 41.5 million viewers tuning in to the ”Who Shot J.R.?” cliff-hanger. ”Everybody in the world has an a–hole like J.R. in their lives,” says Hagman. ”He loved his family and had all the right instincts to keep them together, but he’d also stick a knife in their backs to keep them in line. Everybody loved to hate that guy.”

EW Picks: Our choices to play J.R.’s son
Josh Duhamel
Kiefer Sutherland
Josh Holloway