Saturday, June 23, 2018

Can 'The Conners' Succeed Without 'Roseanne?'

The cast of Roseanne
The former cast of Roseanne (ABC)

 TV 

Wait…have we seen this before? In today’s latest craze in TV, networks are not only presenting re-boots of former shows, but actually creating new episodes of the famed shows many years later. NBC’s revival of Will and Grace proved to be successful and other are soon to follow including new episodes of Murphy Brown and Mad About You. One show that did especially well this spring was the revival of Roseanne often becoming the week’s #1 show. However, that all came to a screeching halt when the star of the show tweeted on Twitter her unflattering and racist comments comparing President Obama’s former senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett, to an ape.

To put it bluntly, ABC Entertainment’s president, Channing Dungey was not amused by Rosanne Barr’s comments and cancelled the show immediately just a few weeks ago. Perhaps Barr was thinking, “I’m the star of the show. I created the show. The show is named after me. What are they gonna do? Fire Me? Sadly, the canceling of Roseanne affected a lot more people than just Barr.

Yesterday, ABC announced they they have officially greenlit a spinoff series of Roseanne tentatively titled, The Conners which will include John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman reprising their roles as Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. In the press release, ABC said, “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 … 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.” Chances are good that other characters that have been recently added to the new Roseanne episodes will be brought on in some capacity as well. The press release also stated that “Roseanne Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series” which is expected to premiere in Roseanne’s old time slot on Tuesdays this fall.


But can a show that revolved around a leading star continue on without them? Sure. In 1986, NBC had a new family sitcom hit on their hands called Valerie which starred Valerie Harper. After two successful seasons, the series was renewed for a third season but Harper (and her husband who served as a producer) asked for a raise but was denied. To fight back, Harper basically went on strike not appearing for rehearsals of the show and as Insider points out, was the same tactic she used to get a raise during her CBS days for Rhoda. Instead, NBC fired Harper, killed off her character in a car crash and renamed the show, Valerie’s Family: The Hogans. Sandy Duncan was brought in to play Aunt Sandy, the sister of Valerie’s on screen husband, Josh Taylor. After Harper sued the network for wrongful termination, the show’s name was changed to The Hogan Family and continued on through 1991.

Though not exactly the same, Charlie Sheen, star of CBS’ Two and a Half Men also thought he couldn’t be touched after his personal life antics and increasing disturbing behavior began to effect the show. After the show’s eighth season, Sheen was written out of the show (essentially making it "One and a Half Men") but added Ashton Kutcher to the cast and the show continued on for another four years. Clayne Crawford, star and sometime director of FOX's Lethal Weapon was also canned after two different incidents that happened while taping the show. The jury is still out if that show can continue on without him.

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