There were phone conversations over the weekend between the Roseanne producers and ABC about possibly rebooting the revival without its co-creator and star Roseanne Barr. I hear they went well. The next step is a creative meeting between ABC executive and Roseanne producers, which is happening tonight to pitch ideas for a revamped Roseanne without Barr. I hear there is no immediate announcement planned.
As we previously reported, the show is expected to stay true to the praised first season of the revival — the series’ 11th overall — featuring the other cast members except Barr. There could be stronger emphasis on Sara Gilbert’s character Darlene, which can be expected since the revival was centered mainly on three characters, Roseanne (Barr), Dan (John Goodman) and their daughter Darlene (Gilbert) who moved back home with her kids.
Executive producers Tom Werner, who also executive produced the original series, and Gilbert, the main driving force behind the revival, are believed to be spearheading the efforts to continue the show and keep the writers, led by executive producer/showrunner Bruce Helford, and crew employed post-cancellation.
While prospects for Roseanne 2.0 look a little brighter with every day that passes since the show’s sudden cancellation, sources close to the situation caution that there are still hurdles to overcome. While independent production company Carsey-Werner owns and produces Roseanne, there are legal and rights issues that need to be settled as Barr was executive producer on the series and has ownership/backend. Warner Bros. TV’s decision to fire Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen and continue the show without him resulted in him filing a $100 million lawsuit against the studio, eventually settled for $25 million that WBTV paid him to cover his backend.
However, while Barr gets credit for originating the character that Roseanne Conner was based on, Roseanne was created by Matt Williams, which could allow the producers to proceed with a new series that does not feature her character without her blessing. And if the potential spinoff is conceived as a new series, that could impact any backend claims by Barr who would have a weaker case than the one Sheen had on Two and Half Men.
Roseanne co-stars Laurie Metcalf, Lecy Goranson, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara and Jayden Rey, all of whom are said to be on board with the idea of continuing the series in some shape or form.