This ’Roseanne’ Spinoff Is Looking Like A Real Possibility
After denouncing Roseanne Barr’s racist and grotesque tweets about former Obama Senior Advisor, Valerie Jarrett, ABC decided to pull the plug on their highly rated Roseanne reboot. Though Barr has compared black people to apes in the past and even dressed up as Hitler, this was the first time the actress felt any real repercussions for her horrific behavior. Unfortunately, the cancellation didn’t just hurt Barr; it also devastated her cast, crew and the writers who’d worked tirelessly on the first season and who were preparing to gear up for Season 2.
With Roseanne’s cancelation, there has been a ton of speculation about what show would fill the now empty time slot on Tuesday evenings. Many were hoping that a formally cast aside pilot would get a new chance on ABC’s timeline. Now it looks like a Roseanne spinoff, starring Sara Gilbert, might be in the works.
However, ABC will only give it the green light under certain conditions (page 7).
Begging for forgiveness
- Roseanne Barr’s actions prove she doesn’t care about her cast and crew
During her strange and shortlived semi-apology tour, Barr claimed that she begged Disney-ABC TV Group chief Ben Sherwood not to cancel the series. If she had, this might have saved the show from cancellation. Unfortunately, it seems that this “begging” never actually occurred.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter, “Multiple sources within the network contend that conversation never happened and Barr has since deleted that tweet.”
Next: ABC is scrambling to figure things out.
A massive challenge
- Roseanne’s cancellation has left ABC in dire straights
Though they seemed unbothered when they handed Roseanne its pink slip, losing their top-rated show is putting ABC is quite the pickle. In fact, they are now scrambling to try and determine what to do next.
Things aren’t looking so great, especially because the network recently lost all new Shonda Rhimes content to Netflix.
ABC now finds itself in a unique position after axing Roseanne, which was due to return in the fall and open the network’s Tuesday lineup. ABC is heading into the 2018-19 broadcast season without TV’s top show and without a new series from Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal) for the first time in years.
Roseanne was expected to drive at least $60 million in ad revenue for its 11th season, according to Kantar Media. ABC, sources say, could be on the hook for “tens of millions of dollars” after axing the series. Also unclear is if any potential Roseanne offshoot would fill ABC’s Tuesday 8 p.m. vacancy left by the network’s decision to cancel the comedy.
Next: Money is a major issue.
- Will ABC still pay Roseanne’s cast and crew?
ABC now faces a ton of money woes. It will no longer be banking on the $60 million of revenue from Roseanne, even though the series’ main actors will still likely receive paychecks for Season 2. What’s really unfair is that the cancellation is leaving the writers and crew twisting in the wind.
THR explained, “Stars Gilbert, Metcalf and Goodman still expect to be paid for the since-scrapped 11th season. The trio, along with Barr, negotiated new deals for the 13-episode season at $300,000 per episode (up from $250,000 for season 10). They expect to be paid for at least 10 episodes since their options were exercised. What’s less clear is if and how the writing staff, including showrunner Helford, will be compensated.”
Next: ABC executives have been having talks and discussions.
A secret meeting
- ABC knew that they needed to act fast
Three days after ABC pulled the plug on Roseanne, executives met for a secret meeting to determine what their next move would be. Apparently, this is when the idea for the spinoff truly began to take off.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Those talks are said to have heated up over the weekend, with Werner highly engaged in finding a way to keep the series going.”
Next: ABC is currently working on this spinoff idea.
A Darlene-centered spinoff
- This may be a possible solution
As ABC scrambles over what to do with the Roseanne timeslot and the loss of millions of dollars, there are rumors that a spinoff, centered around single mom, Darlene Conner, could be in the works.
Vanity Fair reports, “We’re told John Goodman is very interested. Our sources say Tom Werner, who produced Roseanne through his company Carsey-Werner, is involved in the effort to reboot the show around Sara.”
Next: New contracts, same cast
Everyone would return
- We can expect an announcement about a spinoff soon
It looks like the Darlene spinoff is no longer just all talk. In fact, insiders told The Hollywood Reporter we can expect an announcement about the spinoff sometime in June 2018.
The network is knee-deep in conversations with executive producers including Tom Werner for a new incarnation of the multi-camera comedy. Werner’s Carsey-Werner banner produced the original series and its revived 10th season, with the veteran executive, said to be highly engaged in finding a way to continue the franchise with stars Sara Gilbert (who plays Darlene), John Goodman (Dan) and Laurie Metcalf (Jackie).
Sources note that it’s likely the entire cast — sans star Roseanne Barr — and creative team, including showrunner Bruce Helford and the same writing staff, and crew would return for whatever the new incarnation is.
Next: A spinoff under certain conditions
- ABC will only give the series a spinoff under certain conditions
Since Barr is worth upwards of $80 million, Roseanne’s cancelation won’t really hurt her pockets. However, if the spinoff moves forward, ABC reportedly will ensure that Barr won’t see any financial rewards.
One point of contention is to find a way to reinvent Roseanne such that Barr’s financial involvement is limited — which is said to be a top demand for ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey. But continuing Roseanne without Barr attached in any form may prove challenging.
The series was created by Matt Williams and is based upon a character created by Barr. That could make an offshoot a thorny debate as it’s unclear if just the character of Roseanne Conner falls under Barr’s oversight.
Next: Denouncing Barr
Distancing themselves from Barr
- The cast of Roseanne was quick to denounce Barr
Though John Goodman, who played Roseanne’s husband Dan on the original show and its revival, stayed quiet about the scandal, Gilbert was one of the first castmembers to speak out against Barr.
When Barr’s tweets hit the internet, Gilbert clapped back saying, “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.”
Only time will tell if ABC will resurrect the show (again) or not.
Follow Aramide on Twitter @midnightrami.
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