After a successful debut season, ABC reportedly wants The Conners to return for a 13-episode season 2, with the cast currently in negotiations. Among the dozens of TV reboots, revivals, and sequels to crowd the TV landscape in recent years, few have been as highly anticipated as ABC's revival of Roseanne. A top-ranking show for most of its run, Roseanne was one of the biggest sitcom hits of the 1990s, and became renowned for its focus on a family dealing with actual real-life troubles like difficulty paying the bills, crappy jobs, feuding kids, and spousal disagreements.
Of course, what made Roseanne really work is that no matter how much those issues intruded, the Conner family always clearly loved and appreciated each other at the end of the day, and would do whatever they could to help each other out. By most accounts, the revival recaptured the old magic, despite the unwelcome addition - for many - of partisan politics into the fray. Reviews for the revival were great, and ratings were even better, leading to an easy renewal for Roseanne.
That was until star Roseanne Barr got in her own way, unleashing a racist tweet that earned a swift condemnation from most, and a quick decision by ABC to cancel her show. However, just because ABC didn't want Roseanne (the person) around anymore, doesn't mean they didn't still want Roseanne (the show) to return. So the network greenlit a Roseanne-less spinoff called The Conners, which premiered this fall to critical acclaim, and stands as ABC's second-highest rated series of the season so far. Unsurprisingly, Deadline now reports that ABC badly wants The Conners season 2, and is currently in talks with the cast to make that desire a reality.
Much has been made about the fact that those behind The Conners chose to kill the character of Roseanne Conner off, who, despite Barr's off-screen behavior, remained a beloved TV matriarch. Barr herself certainly had vocal public reactions to the decision, despite previously promising to remain "neutral" about the spinoff. While there's no doubt that the loss of Roseanne cost The Conners many viewers (last season's Roseanne revival averaged a 3.49 in the 18-49 demographic and 13.48 million live viewers, versus The Conners season 1's 1.62 demo rating and 7.60 million live viewer average), The Conners' creative team dealt with Barr's absence the best they could.
As mentioned above, talks with The Conners' cast (led by John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert) are ongoing, but according to Deadline's report, a season 2 renewal seems to be all but a formality. Negotiations are said to be going smoothly, with only Goodman and Metcalf's busy schedules proving to be a sticking point. Both actors work constantly in both film and TV, but it's hard to see them not coming back, as Goodman, Metcalf, and Gilbert are all expected to receive a big pay raise per episode. Gilbert is also an executive producer on the show, so she has even more reason to make things work.
The Conners season 1 returns January 8 on ABC.