ABC Orders 'Roseanne' Spinoff For Fall Minus Roseanne Barr
ABC, which canceled its Roseanne revival over its star’s racist tweet, said Thursday (June 21) it will air a Conner family sitcom minus Roseanne Barr this fall. ABC ordered 10 episodes of the spinoff after Barr relinquished any creative or financial participation in it, which the network had said was a condition of such a series.
In a statement issued by the show’s producer, Barr said she agreed to the settlement to save the jobs of 200 cast and crew members who were idled when Roseanne was canceled last month. “I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne, she said, adding, “I wish the best for everyone involved.”
The revival of the hit 1988-97 sitcom Roseanne was swiftly axed by ABC last month after Barr posted a tweet likening former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes. Tom Werner, executive producer of the original series and the revival, said in the statement that he was grateful to reach the deal to keep the team working “as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family.”
ABC said that the new series, with The Conners as its working title, will star John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman. How Barr’s character, the family matriarch, will be erased from their lives was left unexplained for now by ABC.
“After a sudden turn of events, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before,” the network said in its announcement, referring to the fictional Illinois town where the family lives. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” ABC said, a nod to the unusual portrayal of a blue-collar family on TV.
In a joint statement, the cast expressed support for the project. “We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience,” they said.
After getting the chance last season to tell stories about challenges facing working-class family, they’re glad to “continue to share those stories through love and laughter,” the actors said. The new show was ordered from producer Werner Entertainment without a pilot episode, the typical basis for a series to be greenlit.
Barr’s tweet had been condemned by ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey as “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” Barr initially apologized and deleted the post, which had followed her pattern of making controversial political and social statements on social media. Some observers questioned why ABC had ordered the revival given her history.
But the comedy’s return was an instant smash for ABC, owned by the Walt Disney Co., and was counted on to lead the network’s fortunes next season. Its first new episode last March was seen by more than 25 million people, with delayed viewing counted in, numbers that are increasingly rare in network television.
Kantar Media said Roseanne earned an estimated $45 million in advertising revenue for ABC through last season’s nine-episode run. The show tackled hot-button topics such as the opioid epidemic, single parenting and the Trump presidency, with the fictional Roseanne’s support mirrored by that of Barr in real life.
The reboot also prompted some outrage, including over a joke about two other TV comedies featuring minority characters that was deemed dismissive and an episode some people called Islamophobic.