The Surprising Way the ‘Roseanne’ Revival Came Together

Just as quickly as the Roseanne revival arrived on television, it is now dead, with ABC canceling the show following a racist tweet from creator Roseanne Barr.

With the craziest TV story of 2018 now coming to a close, it’s worth reflecting back on how this whole thing came together. After all, the story behind this revival is pretty crazy.

Here’s a look at how it is that Roseanne ended up back on TV.

1. Roseanne Barr imagines a possible reunion in 2009

Roseanne Barr

Barr has been thinking about the possibility of a revival for many years. | Mike Windle/Getty Images

As a quick prologue to the whole Roseanne revival saga, we should first flash back nearly 10 years to when Barr herself floated the idea.

Back in 2009, Barr wrote a post on her blog titled “reunion show,” which is just a list of things she images happening in a potential reunion. Her ideas included Mark dying in Iraq, David leaving Darlene, Roseanne and Jackie opening a medical marijuana dispensary, and Dan returning after having faked his death.

Presumably, at this point, Barr never figured this would happen. After all, if she thought there might really be a reunion, she wouldn’t have given away all these ideas on her blog. It wouldn’t be until years later that every show under the sun started to return, including sitcoms like Full House and Will & Grace. Suddenly, the idea of Roseanne coming back didn’t seem too crazy.

Next: This is how the ball got rolling. 

2. John Goodman appears on The Talk, and he and Sara Gilbert do a Roseanne skit

Goodman and Gilbert reunited on The Talk

Goodman and Gilbert reunited on The Talk | CBS

In March 2017, Goodman appeared on The Talk to promote his movie Kong: Skull Island. Sara Gilbert, who played Darlene on Roseanne, is one of the co-hosts of The Talk and also the show’s creator.

Naturally, with the two former co-stars reunited, they couldn’t resist doing a Roseanne skit while Goodman was there. The skit was very brief, but in it, Gilbert reprises Darlene and Goodman reprises Dan. Sitting together on the couch, Darlene dramatically “comes out” to Dan by telling him that she’s a talk show host. Dan tells her that it’s okay as long as she’s happy.

This was an amusing little bit, but it was hardly a Roseanne reunion; it was just about a minute long, and none of the other members of the cast were involved. Still, it was a fun treat for fans of the show, and that seemed like it would be it.

Next: The idea of a reunion is brought up during the actual interview. 

3. On The Talk, Goodman says he’d do a reunion

John Goodman

Goodman was eager to join. | Theo Wargo/Getty Images

During the interview portion of that episode of The Talk, Goodman was directly asked whether he’d do a proper revival of Roseanne. Goodman is definitely the busiest actor of the entire cast. But surprisingly, he said he’d be in.

“Oh hell yes,” Goodman said. “The Big R and I did a pilot about five years ago that didn’t go anywhere … but we were very happy working together. Yeah, I talk to her once in a while. But if we could get everyone together … there’s such a wealth of opportunity.”

Gilbert said she would do it, too. “Your only fear is you don’t want to do a bad version because you don’t want to damage what’s been done,” she said. “But yeah, I think it would be amazing.”

Next: What happened immediately after that talk show appearance. 

4. Gilbert starts calling members of the cast asking if they’d be interested

Roseanne cast

Getting the whole cast back together was important. | ABC

Goodman and Gilbert talked about a potential Roseanne revival on The Talk very much as a theoretical thing. The cast of pretty much every sitcom gets asked about a revival on talk shows these days, and it usually doesn’t amount to much.

But apparently, it was right after that talk show appearance that members of the cast started texting back and forth about whether this could happen for real.

Gilbert later told Entertainment Weekly that she had considered the idea of a revival before. But it was only after Goodman’s “hell yes” on The Talk that she realized it could actually happen, and she started calling everyone asking if they’d be interested.

Next: Barr weighs in on whether the revival should happen.

5. Barr, after being hesitant, says in late April that she is on board

Executive producer/actress Roseanne Barr of the television show Roseanne reacts onstage during the ABC Television/Disney portion of the 2018 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 8, 2018 in Pasadena, California.

Barr herself was hesitant when the idea started to become a reality. | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

As this talk of a potential revival continued, it still remained unclear whether Barr herself would want to do it.

Gilbert later revealed that Barr was the only member of the cast who was hesitant about returning and didn’t immediately say yes. Gilbert explained on The Talk, “And I know that part of it was that she had some concern because the first time around, she had a lot of battles and drama with the network and the studio, so she said, ‘I can’t do that again, Sara, so you have to do it for me. And I was like ‘sure, of course.'”

In late April, Barr made it known that she was in, tweeting that “of course” she wants to bring back Roseanne. She has since deleted that tweet, though.

Gilbert later said that it turned out she never had to have any battles with the network.

Next: What happened after Barr decided she’s in. 

6. ABC officially orders the show just a few weeks later

Roseanne revival cast photo

Things happened very quickly for the cast. | ABC

On April 28, Deadline reported that the Roseanne revival was a go at ABC. At this point, the reporting was that it would come back for eight episodes, with Barr, Goodman, and Gilbert on board and with the rest of the cast in the process of joining.

Goodman later confirmed that it really did only take a few weeks from Gilbert’s call to Barr to when ABC had ordered the revival.

“It took three weeks from that call till we had a deal at ABC,” Goodman told The Hollywood Reporter.

Next: Laurie Metcalf credits this person with making the revival happen. 

7. Laurie Metcalf joins and credits Sara Gilbert with getting them all together

Laurie Metcalf attends the 43rd Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards on January 13, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Metcalf got on board almost immediately. | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

A few days after Deadline’s reporting, Laurie Metcalf revealed in an interview that she was on board for the revival and that contracts were in the process of being hammered out.

Metcalf later discussed the revival in a variety of talk show appearances to promote Lady Bird. She confirmed that this revival really did happen all because of that skit on The Talk.

“John Goodman went on The Talk, Sara Gilbert’s show, and they did a little parody … it went really well,” Metcalf said on The Late Show. “One of the anchors then on the show asked John if he would consider doing a reunion. And he said, ‘of course I would.’ And that got Sara thinking, and then Sara made calls to everybody, and everybody said yes. So it came together really fast.”

Unfortunately, about a year later, it all fell apart just as fast.

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