ABC officially orders the Roseanne spinoff The Conners to series. Last month, series star and creator Roseanne Barr made a controversial tweet that inevitably resulted in ABC canceling the show altogether, despite it being immensely popular with general viewers and the network having already given Roseanne a season 2 order earlier this year.
While ABC had no interest in working with Barr again, they were reportedly looking into a Roseanne spinoff that could stand on its own. However, the one stipulation was that Barr could not profit from a potential spinoff whatsoever. That meant Barr agreeing to relinquish the rights over to the network or agree to a deal in which both parties get what they want. Unfortunately, that didn't seem entirely likely... until today. ABC had been tenaciously holding off on announcing a replacement program for Roseanne's time slot for good reason, as they have now announced that they are moving forward with a spinoff series without Barr's involvement.
ABC has ordered a 10-episode first season for The Conners, and that Roseanne Barr has reached a settlement with series producer Tom Weller that will ensure Barr has absolutely no involvement in the new show, either creatively or financially. Besides Barr, the entire cast of the Roseanne revival is set to return, including Laurie Metcalf (Jackie), John Goodman (Dan), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Lecy Goranson (Becky), and Michael Fishman (D.J.). It's unclear how Roseanne Barr's character will be handled on the show, but that's something audiences should find out more about as the series premiere nears. Here's the series' description:
“After a sudden turn of events, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before. This iconic family — Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. — grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.”
In a statement, ABC implied that the spinoff, much like the revival, will "portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago." The actors reportedly signed brand-new contracts for one year, and will keep the same salaries that were in place for Roseanne (rumored to be roughly $300,000 per episode.) Behind the scenes, The Conners will keep the same stable of writers and producers that had been scheduled to work on season 2. Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen, and Tony Hernandez are scripting the new season, with Gilbert and Tom Werner producing. Showrunner Bruce Helford will also return to shepherd the new show through.
In a joint statement from Werner and Roseanne Barr, the disgraced comedian said that she regrets "the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne.” She emphasized that she “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.” Regardless of the creative decisions that are ultimately made, audiences will be sure to tune in, if only to satisfy their morbid curiosity as to what Roseanne could possibly look like without its titular character at the center. Although The Conners is slated to air this fall, it does not yet have a premiere date, which is something that should be resolved sometime soon.
The Conners premieres on ABC later this year.