How will ABC's new 'Roseanne' offshoot address Roseanne Barr's sudden absence?
After weeks of speculation, ABC officially ordered Roseanne spinoff, The Conners, to series for a fall debut without Roseanne Barr's involvement. Now comes the question: How will Barr's character, Roseanne Conner, be written off?
A source tells ET that many questions about the content of The Conners are still to be determined, including how Barr's character will be written off, whether or not she'll be referred to at all during the course of the new show and whether or not we'll see favorite guest actors such as Estelle Parsons and Sandra Bernhard on the new show.
The writers are being assembled now, the source says, and once the room is up and running they’ll begin to tackle a lot of these questions. ET has also learned that The Conners will be taking the Roseanne time slot -- Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.
"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," the synopsis for the new show reads. "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 the penultimate episode of the Roseanne revival, Roseanne revealed on the 45th anniversary of her and Dan's wedding that she was addicted to painkillers as a result of a bad knee. Dan promised that they would schedule the knee surgery she needed, no matter how much it cost, but her opioid addiction turned out to be more serious than anyone could have thought. It came to light after Roseanne went to the freezer to retrieve her rubber ice pack -- and pulled out a plastic bag full of pills instead.
Some fans seemed to believe that Roseanne Conner may not be long for this world, taking to Twitter to air out their speculative theories:
More than three weeks after Barr's Twitter scandal led to the cancellation of the Roseanne revival, ABC formally ordered a new series featuring the original cast without Barr. Tentatively titled The Conners, the new spinoff will premiere its 10-episode season this fall. Barr will not receive any financial compensation or have any creative input in the new series.
In a statement to ET on Thursday, Barr reacted to the news, revealing that she had let the show move forward without her participation. "I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. 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.
John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman will all return to reprise their iconic characters. Sources close to The Conners tell ET that the hope is to have Jayden Rey, Ames McNamara andEmma Kenney return, but their deals are not done yet. Additional cast members and a premiere date will be announced at a later date.
“The Conners’ stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” ABC said in a statement.
“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," Goodman, Metcalf, Gilbert, Goranson and Fishman said in a joint statement. "We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”
In May, ABC canceled Roseanne after Barr posted a racist tweet targeting Barack Obama's former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett. "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement at the time. Many of Barr's castmates, including Gilbert, Fishman and Kenney condemned Barr, and Wanda Sykes, who was a consulting producer on the revival announced she would not be returning.
ABC subsequently removed all references to the revival series on its press site and Viacom pulled all re-runs of the sitcom's entire run from all of its channels.
ABC issued an early 13-episode renewal for the Roseanne revival in March, after the '90s multicamera comedy drew record ratings with more than 18 million viewers (not including delayed viewing) tuning in to the hour-long premiere. It had been slated to return to its Tuesday 8 p.m. perch this fall, as a lead-in for freshman comedy The Kids Are Alright.