EXCLUSIVE: Once again, ABC’s renewal of its top comedy series, The Conners, hinges on making new deals with the main cast. And once again, that hurdle has been overcome.
The four principal cast members of the Roseanne spinoff — Sara Gilbert (who also serves as an executive producer), John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson — have closed new pacts to return next season, sources said. I hear the new pacts are for a 20-episode fourth season, in line with the size of Seasons 2 and 3.
Tom Werner’s Werner Entertainment, The Conners production company that handles cast negotiations, is hammering out a license-fee deal with ABC, which also is expected to close. In anticipation of a formal renewal, I hear the show already has been hiring new writers for Season 4. ABC declined comment.
Because of The Conners’ origins as a spinoff of the Roseanne revival, the cast does not have standard six-year contracts. Instead, the actors are signed year-to-year.
The main quartet has been getting salary bumps over the last three years, with Gilbert, Goodman and Metcalf closing in on the $400,000 an episode mark, I hear. Goranson, who started at a much lower point, has been closing the gap with bigger year-to-year raises. All four also have a piece of the series’ lucrative backend, which has increased, sources said.
The Roseanne spinoff, shepherded by executive producer/showrunner Bruce Helford, was an instant breakout, ranking as the No. 1 new comedy in total viewers and 18-49 and ABC’s No. 1 comedy in both categories during its maiden season. Three seasons in, The Conners remains ABC’s most watched comedy series.
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