Roseanne Barr reportedly may take a deal from ABC ensuring she would not profit from any potential Roseanne spinoff, allowing the network to go ahead with plans for a new series centered on the rest of the Conner clan. ABC reportedly hopes to replace the canceled Roseanne with a series primarily focused on Sara Gilbert's Darlene, with other cast members returning as well.
After returning to ABC earlier this year as part of the ever-expanding revival wave, Roseanne proved it could still pull in a huge audience. Given its monster ratings, the network moved quickly to renew the series for a second season. But all those plans fell apart thanks to series star and co-creator Roseanne Barr and her Twitter rant in which she made racist remarks about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett. Amid backlash, ABC moved quickly to cancel the second season of Roseanne. Shortly after the cancellation, reports began circulating that ABC wished to bring back Roseanne, but without Roseanne. The network did however make one major stipulation: Roseanne Barr herself could not profit by the series.
Deadline reports ABC and Roseanne Barr are now indeed working toward an agreement that would allow the network to bring a Roseanne spinoff to the air without Barr having any further financial involvement. Speculation is that ABC would give Barr a one-time pay-out in exchange for her relinquishing her rights to the series. Barr reportedly is mulling taking the deal.
ABC is reportedly expected to move quickly to pickup the spinoff as soon as Barr signs the deal. The spinoff would bring back the cast and writers who were fired after Roseanne's cancellation, but under new one-year deals (they previously had two-year deals). Some of the writers are expected to get pay bumps, while the main cast members return for their originally negotiated fees, reported to be in the neighborhood of $300,000 per episode.
Roseanne Barr's agreement to relinquish her rights, likely in exchange for a healthy pay-off, appears to be the only obstacle keeping a Roseanne spinoff from happening at this stage. What that spinoff would actually look like is anyone's guess, but it's certain to retain much of the same vibe as the original series, which revolved around working-class characters and delved into real-life situations. A series focused largely on the character of Darlene, with Dan (John Goodman) and Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) likely playing big roles, would still be able to explore family dynamics and the trials and tribulations of working-class life.
But the issue then becomes, how to deal with the absence of Roseanne herself? Certainly, the series can't simply pretend Roseanne never existed and just have the family move on. The likeliest scenario would see Roseanne dying off-screen and the family being forced to deal with their grief over her loss. It remains to be seen if Roseanne can still go on without Roseanne herself and retain the qualities that made audiences love it, both in its original run and in its second incarnation.