Some 76% of all television viewers in the United States (i.e. 76 of every 100 American viewers) watching TV at 10:00p.m. (New York time) on the Friday of November 21, 1980 were watching the 'Who Shot J.R.?' episode of 'Dallas'. It was TV's most "heavily publicized series episodes" in history. Lorimar confessed, "Deep in our hearts, we'd like to be the No. 1 ratings champ of series television." In all, 83 million viewers (roughly 3 out of every 4 TV sets in use on that night) in 41.4 million homes with TV sets (about 53% of the total households) were counted watching 'Dallas'.
Musician Bjorn Ulvaeus made the observation in 1978, "Anybody who is going to break it in North America, they have to spend a great deal of time here. It's the strongest domestic market in the world. I guess we thought we could handle the States as we did the rest of the countries, for example, going to Germany once a year. It seems so unnecessary that it shouldn't happen (in the U.S.). Why not? You're the same kind of people here. You come from Europe originally, and there’s no reason why we shouldn't have the broad appeal here in the United States as we have in Europe."
Liam Neeson played 'Ethan Frome' in 1993 made the comment, "I have a fondness for (Los Angeles), but I don't relate to it. I think it was Orson Welles who described L.A. as a rocking chair you get into. You just sit and rock minutes and you get up and 40 years have passed. It has an appeal to it, and it's where the work is but I think it has a false appeal to it."
Deidre Hall shared, "I had learned a tremendous amount about the craft of television. Daytime has the least amount of time for rehearsals, for lighting, for preparation...Working on a nighttime show is totally different from daytime. Because you do just one show a week instead of 5 a week, there's an enormous amount of time to study and develop your character, fix a scene, make the emotions a little fuller and richer.
"(In daytime) we have a one-hour show every day and it has to be lit, directed, produced, acted, dressed, made up, reshot, edited in one day..." The 'Who shot J.R.?' cliffhanger had taught the television industry about the power of the end-of-the season finale. Allan Burns acknowledged, "We never dreamed of wrapping things up at the end of the season. The networks didn't like us doing that. I think the main reason was that they wanted to run or rerun the show's episodes in any way they wanted to. They couldn't do that if one episode led up to another."
In March 1983, 'Falcon Crest' ended its 2nd season on a similar note with the 'Who killed Carlo Agretti?' cliffhanger. It was noted, "'Falcon Crest' has been giving acting opportunities to more veteran actors than almost any other series in Hollywood." Abby Dalton recounted, "It was an awful experience. I didn't know I was the murderess until I saw the episode on the air.
"We all had to take turns at firing the weapon. Lorenzo (Lamas) was the only one happy at the prospect of being the murderer. He figured the one who did it will have a more interesting role." It turned out 'Who killed Carlo Agretti?' was the 4th most popular program on television that week attracting some 24% of the total households (about 20 million homes with TV sets were counted watching 'Falcon Crest'). It should be mentioned, 'Dallas' which provided "lead-in" audience to 'Falcon Crest' was the No. 1 program in the ratings.
In September 1983, the Aaron Spelling's series 'Hotel' made its television debut attracting similar ratings as did 'Falcon Crest' season finale episode to become the 2nd most popular program that week. On 'Falcon Crest', Abby played Jane Wyman's on-screen daughter. She made known, "Earl (Hamner) was instrumental in casting me as Julia Channing in ('Falcon Crest'). Julia has been skipped over as an heir to the vineyards and the winery. She wants to make sure that her son doesn't lose out. She's a very strong and determined woman."
Of television, Abby admitted, "I like 'Dallas' because I love Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing...The cast is excellent and the characters charming and interesting. I think Earl will write our characters with as much care and attention to detail." Of 'Hotel', James Brolin made the point, "St. Gregory's has 800 rooms. We could have a choice of 800 stories each week. On 'Marcus Welby', the shows were almost exactly alike. All we did was change the disease...There's nothing you can't put in a hotel room."
"Before I did 'Days (of our Lives)'," Deidre conceded, "I hadn't been aware of the tremendous power of daytime TV...I'd get letters from viewers who would tell me their most private and personal problems – things they'd never told their own husbands, children, parents, friends or therapists. These people were trusting enough to open up to a stranger who they considered a friend.
"Truthfully, what I found in nighttime is that the talent is enormous and the competition is extraordinary. But you don't do nearly the acting that you do in daytime...(In daytime) we do 40 pages of dialog a day per character sometimes and over 100 pages of dialog a day for a show. You don’t get that in nighttime ever. You never have 40 pages in one room. And it's rarely the kind of emotional and impactful stuff that we have in daytime. You're very rarely tapping those acting muscles in nighttime. You're just barely floating on the surface."