News that ABC is pursuing a spinoff series of Roseanne without the show’s brash and controversial star Roseanne Barr left viewers divided Thursday night, with some praising the network’s handling of the hit series‘ cancellation and others outraged.
A 10-episode series of The Conners, starring actors John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman as their Roseanne characters, will air this fall with no “financial or creative involvement” from Roseanne Barr, ABC said in a statement. Barr’s show was cancelled last month after she tweeted a racist comment directed at former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Some fans applauded the move by ABC, noting that it would prevent some 200 cast and crew members from losing their jobs over Barr’s tweet. But others questioned how the new show could survive without its titular subject, expressing support for Barr with the hashtag #standwithroseanne.
Many speculated about how the star’s absence would be woven into the new show’s plot, with one speculating that she could have been arrested for “illegally selling Tiki Torches,” a reference to props favored in the “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.
New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum was tentatively supportive, noting that Roseanne’s absence would permit space for other characters to shine.
Barr will reportedly retain the intellectual rights to her namesake character in the deal, leading one commenter to posit an out-of-the-box crossover theory: