In the wake of a racist remark by series creator Roseanne Barr on her personal Twitter account, ABC has elected to cancel the revival of Roseanne, effective immediately. This followed a swift social media response, with various hashtags calling for Barr's suspension, a boycott of ABC's sponsors and the outright cancellation of the series.
The cancellation of the Roseanne revival may be the most rapid rise and fall of a popular property in Hollywood history. The original Roseanne series, which ran for nine years from 1988 to 1997, was regarded as one of the greatest situation comedies of all time. The first episode of its revival was the most-watched sitcom on broadcast television in three years. Yet the revival also courted controversy, with the show now mirroring Roseanne Barr's personal politics and the character of Roseanne Conner being portrayed as an outspoken supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump.
The cancellation announcement came via an official statement from ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey. Describing Barr's comments as "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values," the network confirmed that the series was being canceled in direct response to Barr's racist insult of Valerie Jarrett, a Former Senior Adviser to President Barack Obama. The statement can be read in its entirety below.
Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.
Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, expanded upon the statement on his own personal Twitter account, defending the company's response to Barr's actions as "the right thing."
From Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment: "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) May 29, 2018
There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.
The response to Barr's comments was swift and merciless, even ignoring ABC's quick reaction to the controversy. Comedian Wanda Sykes, who worked on Roseanne as a consulting producer, announced via Twitter that she would not be returning for the show's second season. Actress Sara Gilbert, who played Darlene Conner on the show, similarly said that she was disappointed in Barr for her remarks, but that she had yet to make a decision on whether or not she'd leave the series. There's no choice to be made, however, in the wake of ABC's decision.
It will be interesting to see what effect the cancellation of Roseanne may have on other series helmed by politically outspoken comedians. This could spell trouble for Last Man Standing - another politically charged sitcom cancelled by ABC, which was recently picked up by Fox purely because of the overwhelming success of the Roseanne revival and the apparent public support for Barr and her style of comedy. It's possible, however, that Fox may have buyer's remorse in the wake of the outcry against Barr.
More: Roseanne Finale Review
Source: ABC, Bob Iger