In the wake of a racist tweet by star and namesake Roseanne Barr, ABC has canceled Roseanne. A statement by ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey read as follows:
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey
Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.
The revival of the 1990s sitcom was ABC’s biggest hit of the new season, and the biggest for any broadcast network in both ratings and total viewers, so canceling it is an extraordinary move, especially given that this is hardly the first time Barr has expressed controversial or offensive views. Dungey, who was the first black woman to hold the top post at a major network, had steered ABC away from the diverse programming championed by her predecessor Paul Lee, who greenlit shows like Scandal, Black-ish, and Fresh Off the Boat, saying that in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory networks needed to pay closer attention to the “true realities” of working class viewers. In practice that meant more shows about white people, as creators like Shonda Rhimes and Kenya Barris took their talents elsewhere. But there was no way to spin Barr’s comparison of former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett, who is black, to a character from Planet of the Apes, as anything but straight-up racist, and with writers quitting the show and its stars publicly denouncing Barr, Dungey wasted little time in pulling the plug.
This post has been updated with new information since it was originally published.