About three weeks after ABC abruptly canceled the revival of “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet, the network has ordered a spinoff – without Barr attached.
The working title is “The Conners,” and centers on the family as they grapple with “parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America,” the network said in a news release. “Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.”
“Roseanne Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series,” the release added.
The network also included a statement from Barr: “I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from ‘Roseanne,’” she said. “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.”
In late May, ABC shut down the series after Barr’s tweet, which likened Valerie Jarrett, adviser to former President Barack Obama, to an ape. Barr later deleted the tweet and apologized, saying it was a joke. Still, hours after it was sent, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey announced, “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”
In the days that followed, Barr – who was also dropped by her talent agency – blamed the sleep medication Ambien for the tweet, and tweeted that she begged ABC not to shut down the series so the cast and crew could keep their jobs. At one point, she also criticized her co-stars via Twitter, saying that the reaction from consulting producer Wanda Sykes (who said after Barr’s tweet that she was going to quit the show) made ABC “very nervous,” so they canceled the series.
Now, the spin-off, which has a 10-episode order, will star John Goodman as Roseanne’s husband, Dan; Laurie Metcalf as her sister, Jackie; Sara Gilbert as her daughter, Darlene; Lecy Goranson as her other daughter, Becky and Michael Fishman as her grandson, D.J.
“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,” the cast said 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.”
Gilbert will also return as an executive producer alongside Tom Werner, who executive produced the show’s original run in the 1990s. ABC said additional cast members will be announced at a later date. The show will air Tuesday nights this fall.
The “Roseanne” revival, which starred Barr as a President Donald Trump supporter – as she is in real life – clashing with her liberal family members, debuted to extraordinary ratings when it premiered in March. It became the most-watched show of the 2017-2018 TV season with an average of 21 million viewers a week. Shortly before the series was canceled, the network featured Barr as the kickoff of their upfront presentation for advertisers for the fall season.
Trump made it known he was a fan of Barr – and took credit for the show’s ratings – and weighed in when the show was canceled, directing a tweet at Bob Iger, the chairman of Disney, ABC’s parent company.
“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that ‘ABC does not tolerate comments like those’ made by Roseanne Barr,” he tweeted. “Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?”