“We are deep in conversations with the cast and the producers,” ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke told Deadline during TCA.
Because of the show’s origins — a spinoff of the Roseanne revival — The Conners cast does not have standard six-year contracts. Instead, the actors are signed year-to-year.
The Roseanne spinoff was an instant breakout, ranking as last season’s No. 1 new comedy in total viewers and 18-49 and ABC’s No. 1 comedy in both categories. This season, The Conners remains ABC’s most watched comedy series, averaging 7.7 million viewers (most current) and is tied with the final season of ABC’s Modern Family and CBS’ Big Bang spinoff Young Sheldon as the highest rated comedy on broadcast in adults 18-49 (1.7 ratings)
“We would be crazy not to renew The Conners. It performs incredibly well for us, it’s our second highest rated show, neck-and-neck with Modern Family,” Burke said. “We expect it would be back for another season.”
The Conners executive producers executive producers were more measured but also optimistic.
“We are very pleased with how the show is doing and my hope is that, I’m confident that the network will pick up the show for another year, hopeful anyway,” exec producer Tom Werner said. “My sense is that there is a lot of enthusiasm about what we are doing and the actors hopefully will come back.”
Said star/executive producer Sara Gilbert, “We are hopeful.”
The success of the series, which has exceeded expectation, defying skepticism that it may not survive without the Conners matriarch, has given the cast leverage in the negotiations.
The core quartet of Gilbert, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf and Lecy Goranson scored substantial salary increases in signing on to return for Season 2. They are also pursuing bumps for Season 3, whose order size is expected to be comparable to Season 2’s 19 episodes. I hear.
The Conners Season 2 finale is being crafted as a season ender with a number of continuing storylines, executive producer/showrunner Bruce Helford said.
“We always try and build the future, that’s why the show has been so great,” he said. “We are always prepared to go another year.”
The Conners‘ renewal decisions are unlike any other, he noted.
“Everyone gets together and says, ‘are we enjoying it, are we doing great work’. If the answer is yes, we all continue,” he said.
So far, the signs point in a positive direction.
“Everyone is pretty happy, the atmosphere is really warm, it’s really nice, we do good work, we have the best actors in the whole world, and we love writing for them.”
Burke agreed, referencing the TCA announcement that The Conners will do a politically-themed live episode on the night of the New Hampshire primary.
“We are super excited about the live episode and a special football episode they have coming up,” she said. “They are just in a groove. When I took this job I was told, ‘well, you probably have one season with The Conners’. I think because they have fun and the show does so well, they keep wanting to do more. We will do The Conners as long as they do more episodes.”