LOS ANGELES — Just a few weeks after canceling “Roseanne” after the show’s star Roseanne Barr posted racist and bizarre tweets, ABC says it is keeping the show alive — without Barr.
“The Conners” is the working title of the re-rebooted sitcom. It will be a “spinoff” of “Roseanne,” the network announced Thursday night. “Roseanne Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series,” ABC said in a press release.
ABC and the show’s production company, Carsey Werner, had been working behind the scenes to strike this deal ever since “Roseanne” was canceled on May 29. The talks were tricky because of thorny contracts, some of which were signed many years ago when the original “Roseanne” television show was on the air.
ABC revived the show to great fanfare earlier this year, and it instantly became the No. 1 new show of the television season. But Barr’s controversial behavior on Twitter was a constant headache for ABC. When she posted a racist comment about Valerie Jarrett and offensive comments about Chelsea Clinton and other political figures, the network decided it had to cancel the show.
The swift cancellation stunned the TV industry. The show’s writers were just about to return to work on the second season. ABC executives were out selling the new season to potential advertisers. But the executives in charge of ABC and its parent company, Disney, felt that they had no choice but to cut ties with Barr. And in the heat of the moment, there was no time to strike a deal for a Barr-less version of the show.
There were immediate regrets about the potential loss of 200-plus jobs. And there were almost immediate talks about some kind of possible revival. Sure enough, “Roseanne” co-stars like John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Sara Gilbert were all interested in keeping the show going in some fashion.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the remaining cast members said, “We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience.”
Now they’ll be back at work soon. ABC ordered ten episodes of the new show. The network said it’ll occupy the same time slot, Tuesdays at 8 p.m., that “Roseanne” would have had in the fall.
For now, the premiere date is vague — just “fall 2018,” according to the network. In a new statement on Thursday night, Barr said she regrets “the circumstances that have caused me to be removed” from her show.
“I 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,” she said.