ABC is officially moving forward with a Roseanne spinoff without Roseanne Barr, which is tentatively being called The Conners. The network is able to do this because Barr reached an agreement with producer Tom Werner and Werner Entertainment. So what, exactly, are the terms of that agreement? Will Barr benefit financially from this show at all? Did she receive any sort of financial settlement?
The answer to the latter question appears to be yes. According to The New York Times, Barr did, in fact, receive a financial settlement from Werner Entertainment, which will produce The Conners. Barr is one of the creators of the original series.
A previous report from The Hollywood Reporter stated that negotiations were underway to determine what, if anything, Barr would receive in what a source called “go-away money” so that this spinoff could happen. Barr has reportedly now received that money, although we don’t know the amount at the moment.
Barr would normally be entitled to receive a lot more money from the spinoff, though. However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, she has agreed to waive these rights and to have no ongoing financial participation in The Conners. So that means that Barr will receive this one-time payment, and that’s it. It was reportedly a priority for ABC that any spinoff does not benefit Barr financially.
Interestingly, though, Barr will retain the rights to the character of Roseanne Conner and to any possible spinoffs or reboots beyond The Conners. And although she won’t have any involvement in The Conners, she’s still going to receive an executive producer credit, as required by the Writers Guild of America.
“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.”
ABC says this new series will follow the Conner family as they are forced to deal with the struggles of daily life in a way they never have before following a sudden turn of events. That description sure makes it sound like Roseanne dies between seasons, although this has not yet been confirmed. Based on the plot of the last few episodes of Roseanne, it would make sense for her to die in surgery or perhaps overdose on prescription drugs.
Although the full cast of The Conners hasn’t yet been announced, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman have all been confirmed.
“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,” they said in a joint statement. “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.”
Bruce Helford will also continue to serve as showrunner, so really, the only difference between this and an 11th season of Roseanne will be Barr’s absence. ABC says the show will deal with issues like parenthood, unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging, and in-laws.
The Conners will premiere sometime in the fall, taking over the Tuesdays at 8:00 timeslot that ABC had put Roseanne in. No specific date has been announced, but expect there to be some sort of a delay; the writers on the 11th season of Roseanne were scheduled to head back to work over a month ago. Variety had previously reported that the spinoff would probably premiere in late November at the earliest.
It was in Disney and ABC’s best interest to go ahead and produce this spinoff. After all, they were already reportedly going to have to pay Gilbert, Metcalf, and Goodman for at least 10 episodes of the 11th season, since their contracts had already been signed. As they each get $300,000 per episode, this would amount to ABC paying $9 million without even having a show to broadcast.
It has been just over a month since ABC canceled Roseanne. This came just hours after Barr tweeted a racist statement about former Obama Administration official Valerie Jarrett, comparing her to an ape from Planet of the Apes. After initially defending this as a joke, Barr apologized, but ABC was quick to act by canceling the entire series.
Afterward, Barr showed some signs on Twitter that she might attempt to fight back against ABC. She also walked back her apology and defended her initial tweet, saying, “Rod Serling wrote Planet of The Apes. It was about anti-semitism. That is what my tweet referred to-the anti semitism of the Iran deal. Low IQ ppl can think whatever they want.”
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