ABC executives are suddenly getting cold feet about their re-re-boot of Roseanne Barr’s sitcom Roseanne since they fired its star. The new series, now called The Connors, is set to debut next week, but the network suits are now worried it was flop big time.
You’ll recall that star Roseanne Barr was fired from the re-booted 1990s sitcom after she made a tweet that some said was “racist.” But ABC executives thought maybe the show could go on, only without the inspiration for the original and re-booted series.
Now they are worried that they were wrong.
According to Breitbart News:
Two senior executives at the network told the outlet that ABC President Channing Dungey’s decision to immediately fire the actress and cancel her show after she made racially charged comments about former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett was a “knee-jerk” decision that they would later regret.
“We didn’t think it through properly. What Roseanne did was wrong but we shouldn’t have rushed to fire her. It was almost a knee-jerk reaction by Ben [Sherwood] and Channing [Dungey] who should have launched an investigation,” one insider reportedly said. “This would have given them more time to listen to the public, advertisers and cast members to determine the best decision.”
Barr compared Jarrett to if the ‘Muslim brotherhood & Planet of the Apes had a baby,” comments that were condemned by Dungey as “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.” Yet one insider apparently suggested that ABC should instead have temporarily suspended her before making a final decision.
“They could’ve suspended her from the first few episodes without pay and had her return later on in the season,” the source explained. “I mean the season finale saw Roseanne going to the hospital for knee surgery. While they worked out her fate, her character could have faced serious complications and fought for her life, while simultaneously making Roseanne fight for her career with a national apology tour.”
All the coulda-shoulda-wouldas aside, the insiders now worry that people who tuned in for the smash hit re-booted sitcom are so loyal to Roseanne that they won’t care about a show without her.
“When we greenlit The Conners we thought that the public would tune in to see the family return but what we’ve discovered is that people want Roseanne – they don’t want the family by themselves,” the insider explained.
“The comments on social media tend to skew in favor of Roseanne and slam The Conners and the cast members who came back,” the source added. “Even dedicated fans of the Conner family feel conflicted about supporting a show that so swiftly eliminated the show’s matriarch and creator.”
My guess is that the first episode may have good enough ratings because people are curious about what the show will be without Roseanne. But it will soon die a ratings death after people have that initial curiosity satisfied.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.