After weeks of rumors and speculation, ABC finally confirmed what many assumed (or hoped) would happen: Roseanne will go on without Roseanne Barr.
ABC announced Thursday that it will soon begin production on 10 episodes of a revival of the revival called The Conners. Here’s the official logline from the network: “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. This iconic family – Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. – grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging, and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.”
It’s unclear for now how the absence of the family matriarch will be addressed. But at least it means that all of the key cast members who returned for last season’s revival will participate in the new iteration, including John Goodman (Dan), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Lecy Goranson (Becky) and Michael Fishman (D.J.).
Of particular note: ABC made sure to address in its announcement that Barr would have no financial or creative involvement in the new series. Minutes later, Barr released this statement: “I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved.”
Executive Producer Tom Werner added, “We are grateful to have reached this agreement to keep our team working as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family.”
ABC and the cast released their own comments, too.
“The Conners’ stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” according to ABC.
“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,” added the cast in a “joint” statement. “We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”
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Though ABC swiftly canceled the comedy in May after Barr’s now infamous tweet seemingly comparing a former Obama adviser to an ape (she claims it was about anti-semitism), the discussion almost immediately turned to whether the network should salvage significant parts of Roseanne without having to say goodbye to some of the best actors on television. And keeping some of the Conners on the air for the 2018-2019 season was financially wise: If the show went away completely, ABC would have had to shell out a cancellation penalty to Carsey-Werner, which produces Roseanne, and in turn, the studio would have had to pay off the cast. Options for Gilbert, Goodman, Metcalfe, and the others were picked up shortly after the network announced in April that it wanted a second season of the revival, and for good reason: With an average of 17.8 million viewers a week, the show was the third-most watched TV series of the season and stood to make an estimated $60 million in ad revenue in its second season, according to the marketing firm Kantar Media.
It also employed hundreds of people, something Barr acknowledged in one of her more humble tweets after the show was yanked: “I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet.”
For the new iteration, Werner will continue to executive produce, along with Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez. It will air on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall.
ABC said that additional cast members and a premiere date will be announced later.
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