It’s official: ABC has given a 10-episode series order to The Conners (working title), a spinoff of Roseanne, for fall 2018. The spinoff will take over the Tuesday 8 PM slot on the ABC schedule that was vacated when Roseanne was suddenly canceled following a controversial tweet by star and executive producer Roseanne Barr. (Roseanne‘s order had been for 13 episodes.)
Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series after reaching a settlement with series producer Tom Werner. The Conners will feature the rest of the Roseanne revival cast, John Goodman (“Dan”), Laurie Metcalf (“Jackie”), Sara Gilbert (“Darlene”), Lecy Goranson (“Becky”) and Michael Fishman (“D.J.”), who will reprise their Conner characters.
“I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne,” Barr said in a statement. “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.”
It is unclear how exactly Barr’s character will be written off but ABC describes it as “a sudden turn of events.” On the new show, after a sudden turn of events, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before. This iconic family – Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky and D.J. – grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.
“The Conners’ stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” ABC said in a statement.
Added cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman said in a joint statement, “We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience. We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”
I hear the actors, who all had two-year deals for Roseanne, recently signed new one-year contracts for the spinoff, keeping them at the same salaries, believed to be around $300,000 an episode.
The writing-producing team that had been in place for Season 2 of the Roseanne revival are set for The Conners after new deals with the writers a number of whom got raises I hear. Tom Werner executive produces alongside Sara Gilbert, showrunner Bruce Helford, writers Dave Caplan and Bruce Rasmussen as well as Tony Hernandez. The series is from Tom Werner and his Werner Entertainment, a tweak from the credits of Roseanne, which was produced by Carsey-Werner.
Because of the circumstances under which ABC canceled the Roseanne revival, the network’s executives had been adamant that they would only proceed with a spinoff series if Barr has absolutely no involvement — creative, financial or any other. After a deal with Barr, the network had seven days to pick up the spinoff, which it did. In anticipation of an order for the offshoot, ABC held off on announcing a replacement for Roseanne on its fall schedule.
“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,” Werner and Barr said in a joined statement.
Added Werner, “We are grateful to have reached this agreement to keep our team working as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family.”
Immediately after the May 29 cancellation of the Roseanne revival — ABC’s highest rated and most watched series last season, the producers behind it started mulling a spinoff without Barr. The writers bounced around ideas and the creative team met with ABC on June 4. The network quickly jumped on board if the new series could be done without any Barr financial interest. After a couple of weeks of back-and-forth, an agreement between Werner and Barr was reached, paving the way to a pickup.
Roseanne was created by Matt Williams, based on a character created by Roseanne Barr. The fact that the follow-up series does not feature Barr’s character Roseanne Conner, rights to which she is said to maintain, made it easier to hammer out an agreement with her.
The pickup keeps the Roseanne crew employed as they risked being out of a job after the series’ cancellation at a very unfortunate time when shows for next season already had been staffed.