The Conner family is coming back to ABC in October — but without its matriarch, Roseanne. Earlier this year, Roseanne Barr was fired from the network, and the show was canceled, because she tweeted a racist remark about Valerie Jarrett, a former advisor to President Obama. Now, a spinoff, The Conners, will hit screens instead of the Roseanne reboot.
At the Television Critics Association’s press tour, the head of ABC Entertainment explained that though the decision to fire Barr may have seemed abrupt, it actually wasn’t — because she had exhibited a pattern of behavior they didn’t like before, and this was the last straw.
“[The decision] was actually made very swiftly, and what I’m going to have to say is that it was nice that it was so clear to everyone that there wasn’t a lot of debate and discussion about it,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told Deadline. “We knew what we wanted to do, and we did it. For us, we have had multiple instances with Roseanne, and certainly this tweet crossed the line that cannot be crossed, but it was for us a sense of enough is enough and something had to be done.”
She elaborated on the tweet in a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “It's not a secret that she has had a tendency in the past to be sort of outspoken and go off-book. We've had multiple conversations about wanting to keep the focus on the show and not to let some of the other stuff eclipse the show,” she said. “So, in some ways, this was a last straw. But it was also such an egregious tweet that it felt like no matter what, there would have been some action that we would have taken.”
She stayed tight-lipped about what the Conner family has in store in their spinoff. “Thematically we will be focusing on a lot of the same themes that we were in the first nine episodes — what it’s like today for a family to make ends meet in a world where they might be going into foreclosure, where work is scarce, where there are a lot of different challenges in terms of raising children as a single parent,” she said.
The Conners will premiere Tuesday, October 16 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
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