ABC confirms 'Roseanne' spin-off without the sitcom's star, Roseanne Barr
Several weeks ago, ABC publicly cut ties with Roseanne Barr after she tweeted slurs about the former Obama administration politician, Valerie Jarrett. In one of many racist tweets, the comedian compared Jarrett (a black woman) to "Planet of the Apes", and - unsurprisingly - ticked off several hundreds of thousands of her fans in the process.
The president of the television network, Channing Dungey, subsequently came forward to say that "Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show." And, for a while, people thought that this would be the end of the matter.
Yesterday, however, ABC confirmed that they would be continuing with a spin-off series - only this one would not include Roseanne herself.
In a statement issued last night, Barr said, "I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from ‘Roseanne’. 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."
The spin-off currently has the working title, The Connors, and is said to star the remainder of the existing Roseanne cast. However, given that several of Barr's former co-stars said some harsh things about the actress in the wake of her Twitter meltdown, it's difficult to believe that Barr can be taking the news all too well.
Sara Gilbert - who has been confirmed for the reboot - shared this with fans shortly after the initial controversy happened:
"Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least. This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love—one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member."
Michael Fishman, Barr's on-screen son, also got into a spat with the comedian over her viewpoints, tweeing: "My character was designed to represent the inclusive nature of my views. To represent portions of society often marginalized. In this moment it is important to be clear. We must stand up against bias, hatred, bigotry and ignorance to make society a better place for all."
Since then, Barr attempted to claim that the comments she made were as a result of her Ambien-tweeting, and that what she'd said was not "racist" but merely "insensitive".
With the former central character out of the picture, though, Fishman and Gilbert - along with John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and Lecy Goranson - seem very keen to pursue this new venture.
In a joint statement, the five actors said that their characters "not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience," adding that, "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."
It is not yet known when the spin-off will air, nor whether it plans to address the glaring absence of its former star.