“Roseanne” is back, but this time without its controversial star, Roseanne Barr. There were rumors swirling for weeks about the supposed spin-off, and now, it’s official.
“The Conners” will be moving into the vacancy left by “Roseanne” in ABC’s schedule. Most of its stars will return, although it’s not known if all of its creative behind-the-scenes talents will. Some, like Wanda Sykes, quit after the show’s creator and star tweeted racially insensitive comments about a former aide to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett.
Since then, there was much hand-wringing about the 200 or so people who lost their jobs because Barr tweeted one too many racist tweets. Some were coming in to work on the show's second season when "Roseanne" was abruptly canceled.
So, in the spirit of keeping people employed, Executive Producer Tom Werner and Barr announced the spinoff show in a joint statement:
Tom Werner and Roseanne Barr have reached an agreement that will allow Werner Entertainment to produce a spinoff of the Roseanne series for ABC without Barr’s further creative or financial 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” said Barr. Werner added: “We are grateful to have reached this agreement to keep our team working as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family.”
It’s a nice sentiment, but a hollow one. Any one of the writers working on the show is likely sitting on a script that could use the talents of John Goodman or Sara Gilbert. It’s foolish to believe there aren’t enough scripts in any production office that could tell a new story and not a half-dead one.
Yesterday, the Directors Guild of America published their diversity figures for movie directors, revealing a shocking. but not entirely surprising statistic: There were fewer directors of colors helming movies last year than in 2013. Women may have doubled in representation during the same time frame, but that still only accounted for 12 percent of movies released theatrically in 2017.
The DGA’s study on episodic television, which was released late last year, showed small gains for women and underrepresented directors. Women directors increased by 4 percent to make up 21 percent of the workforce while the ranks of directors of color increased by 3 percent to make 22 percent of episodes last year. It’s a big disparity and one that doesn’t look to be going away as long as the industry holds onto to the old guard without giving young creators a chance.
“The Conners” will likely be a solution that will satisfy no one. People championing ABC for their quick response may be likely disappointed to see the ghost of “Roseanne” will take a spot on the network’s primetime roster. Barr’s diehard fans who stood by her through various racially charged incidents and conspiracy theories will probably tune out to boycott the mealy-mouthed decision to salvage what they could of the show.