Brow Beat

ABC Is Bringing Back Roseanne, Only Without Roseanne

Roseanne, minus Roseanne.
(artist’s rendition)
ABC. Photo illustration by Slate.

Bye bye, Roseanne, hello The Conners. According to a report in Variety, ABC has ordered 10 episodes of a new fall series featuring the cast and crew of Roseanne Barr’s recently canceled hit sitcom, with the notable exception of Barr herself. John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, and Michael Fishman will all return, as will much of the show’s writing staff. Barr will have no involvement with the show, and will receive no profits from it, although she will retain the rights to the character of Roseanne Conner and any future reboots or spinoffs.

ABC issued a statement from Barr and executive producer Tom Werner:

Tom Werner and Roseanne Barr have reached an agreement that will allow Werner Entertainment to produce a spinoff of the Roseanne series for ABC without Barr’s further creative or financial participation. “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” said Barr. 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.”

Roseanne was canceled last month after Barr wrote a racist tweet likening African-American Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett to a character from Planet of the Apes. She subsequently apologized, then blamed being on Ambien, and then, weeks later, attempted to claim that the tweet was a reference to the purported anti-Semitism of Obama’s Iran deal. None of it took, but ABC still sees value in the damaged property—or, given rumors that they might have had to pay the show’s major players for the new season even after the show was canceled, figured they might as well put them to work instead.

There was no immediate word as to whether ABC or online streaming services such as Hulu planned to restore Roseanne’s old episodes, including those from the sitcom’s initial, pre-Twitter run.