Can ‘Roseanne’ Really Go on Without Star Roseanne Barr?

In the age of the reboot, fans were thrilled to hear Roseanne was joining the ranks of TV show revivals. And high hopes for a successful run were realized the moment the reboot premiered in 2018. Having originally aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997, the series returned with a clean sweep of high ratings. But that success wouldn’t last long.

On May 29, 2018, ABC pulled the plug hours after Roseanne Barr’s now-infamous tweet. The show’s stars, fans, and critics alike were left reeling in the aftermath, and some are wondering whether Roseanne could go on without Barr.

Read on to discover the details behind the controversy, which other character could potentially take over as the new lead (page 5), and possible theories on what the show would look like in the future (page 7).

The show will not continue on ABC

Whitney Cummings with the cast of Roseanne

Whitney Cummings with the cast of Roseanne | Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images

Whether another network picks the show up remains to be seen. ABC, however, has made one thing very clear: The network has no interest in saving the sinking ship.

Following Barr’s racist tweet — in which she compared Barack Obama-era aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape — ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey immediately addressed the issue. “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” he said.

Next: Some people are hopeful the show will go on.

There’s still an audience for it

Roseanne Barr tweet about Trump

Roseanne tweeted that Trump enjoyed the show. | Roseanne Barr via Twitter

Barr is a well-known Trump supporter. And the reboot’s episodes brought relevant conversations to the forefront, including issues that arise between family members who have different political views. For that, the show received high praise. Trump, himself, even called Barr to congratulate her on the reboot’s high ratings.

Trump’s fandom aside, Roseanne still may have a shot at continued success. After all, the show provided a glimpse into a working-class family in middle America, a concept to which many folks can relate.

Next: There’s one network that may consider airing the show in the future.

Fox may pick the show up

Roseanne shooting

Roseanne | ABC

If Roseanne has any shot at another season, it rests in the hands of Fox. According to Newsweek, Fox could be the one network willing to take on the challenge. Furthermore, fans are saying the conservative network may even be a better home for the series.

It’s important to note, however, that Barr’s Twitter comment was not conservative, it was racist. And those are two very different things. Despite her since-deleted tweet, fans of the show are encouraging Fox to pick the show up for a second season.

Next: Here’s one theory about how writers could kill off Barr’s character.

Roseanne Conner could face complications during surgery

Roseanne and Dan

Roseanne| ABC

The revival’s first season ended with Roseanne contemplating knee surgery, a storyline that just may be the ticket to a second season without Barr. Confused? Don’t worry, we’ll explain.

Although the average knee surgery rarely ends in death, complications are always a concern. So, if the show does have a chance to continue without Barr, this theory just may be the solution.

Next: Here’s one theory as to how the show might change if it continues.

Jackie could take over as the show’s leading lady

Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, and Roseanne Barr

Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, and Roseanne Barr on Roseanne | ABC/Adam Rose

When Jackie Harris, played by Laurie Metcalf, burst onto the scene after the show’s 20-year hiatus, viewers knew there’d be no shortage of storylines. After all, the two sisters had a lot of unpacking to do, given their opposing politics, of course.

Without a doubt, there were plenty of fans who more closely identified with Jackie, a Hillary-supporting, equal rights-advocating life coach. So, perhaps Jackie taking the reins as the show’s leading lady isn’t so far-fetched.

Next: Jackie’s not the only candidate for an alternate leading lady.

Darlene could take over as the show’s leading lady

Sara Gilbert on Roseanne

Sara Gilbert on Roseanne | ABC

Darlene Conner, played by Sara Gilbert, is clearly “capable of carrying this revival to the finish line,” TVLine says. And we agree. After all, her adventures in dating would make for great comedy.

On second thought, Jackie and Darlene combined would also make an excellent pair. So, an entire show starring the duo? Just saying …

Next: There are plenty of characters with good storylines to go around.

The Conner family could remain an ensemble cast — minus Barr

Roseanne revival cast photo

Roseanne revival cast photo | ABC

Obviously, the show’s name might have to change (a series called Roseanne with no Roseanne?). But according to the folks who’d like to see the show continue without its now-disgraced leading lady, changing the title is an easy fix.

Seeing as there are so many well-loved — and complex — characters, positioning the show around the entire Conner clan just may be the answer many have been looking for. In fact, one fan even suggested the show be set “in an inner city hardware store the [Conner] family won after Roseanne died …”

With so many possible alternatives, only time will tell what the future holds for Roseanne, the cast, and Barr.

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