Upcoming Roseanne spinoff The Conners has released a brief and cryptic teaser that asks, “What’s next?” ABC’s brief teaser confronts the question that each and every Roseanne fan is asking at the moment, that being what can possibly come next for the Conner family after the fallout from ABC’s firing of Roseanne Barr back in June.
The story of Roseanne’s cancellation and how The Conners came to be is a troubled one. The dramatic tale started earlier this summer, as ABC was airing new episodes of its Roseanne revival. When Roseanne Barr - creator, star, and producer of Roseanne - published a racist tweet going after Valerie Jarrett, a former senior aide to President Barack Obama, it set off a tidal wave of controversy that led ABC to reverse its decision to renew Roseanne for a second season, and cancel the iconic sitcom instead. However, this swift action drew some heat for punishing cast and crew who had done nothing wrong, and were now unemployed because of the actions of one individual.
This encouraged ABC to seek another route, and the network announced in June that it was ordering a Roseanne spinoff titled The Conners. ABC stressed that Barr would not be involved in any way, and would not profit off the series. Now, ABC has released a short teaser for the spinoff. At only 15 seconds long, the teaser is simply a slow zoom of the Conner family’s classic living room couch backed to Carly Simon’s song “Anticipation”. After a few seconds, a big, white “What’s Next?” caption comes across the screen. Though it confirms the spinoff’s premiere is on Tuesday, October 16 at 8pm, the cryptic teaser raises more questions than it answers.
It’s true that very few details about The Conners are known at this point. The series just began production, and in terms of plot, only a couple of important facts have made it into headlines. Perhaps most important of all was John Goodman’s confirmation earlier this week that The Conners will kill off the character of Roseanne, in order to set up its own individual storyline without Barr’s character. Shortly after that news broke, the smaller but still important detail that Roseanne Conner’s grandchildren will all return for the spinoff series was released.
Because these are the only details that have been revealed about ABC’s The Conners, questions abound as to what the spinoff will be like, how it will survive without Barr, and if it will truly be able to succeed in the wake of the controversy that will continue to surround Roseanne for many years to come. ABC’s marketing strategy at the moment is to play coy, teasing its audiences’ hopes and wonders for the spinoff series, and acknowledging the fact that fans have an abundance of questions over the future of the sitcom's beloved characters. Many think it’s a major gamble for ABC to move forward with this spinoff without Barr. Only time will tell if the risk paid off for the network, and if The Conners will grow to be anywhere near as popular as its predecessor once was.
The Conners premieres October 16 on ABC.