*Not that anyone needs it, but Roseanne Barr has given a thumbs up to news that ABC’s rebooted “Roseanne” will indeed move forward without her as “The Conners.”
Moments after the network’s announcement, Barr took to Instagram with a photo of herself at dinner with her son Jake at a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. She gave a thumbs up to let everyone know that she supports ABC’s move – which reportedly came following weeks of negotiations and a check described as “go away money.”
ABC cancelled Barr’s show three weeks ago after she sent a racist tweet about Barack Obama’s former presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett.
The network announced Thursday that the anticipated spinoff has gotten the green light, with “The Conners” as its working title. ABC says the new take will explore issues with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America.
The series will span 10 episodes and take over Roseanne’s Tuesdays at 8 p.m. time slot beginning this fall. Additional cast members and a premiere date will be announced at a later date.
“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,” Barr said in a statement. Added executive producer Tom Werner: “We are grateful to have reached this agreement to keep our team working as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family.”
Co-stars John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman said in a joint statement: “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. 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.”
Read more details about the separation deal between ABC and Barr below, via The Hollywood Reporter:
Following aggressive talks with exec producer Tom Werner, the Disney-owned broadcaster has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for Roseanne spinoff The Conners (working title). The new take, which will also be a multicamera comedy and premiere in the fall, will follow the Conner family who, after a sudden turn of events, are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before.
ABC stressed in its announcement Thursday that Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series. Werner and Barr reached an agreement that will allow Werner Entertainment to produce the spinoff for ABC without Barr’s further creative or financial participation. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Barr will retain all rights to her Roseanne Conner character and any future spinoffs beyond The Conners or any future reboots of the original.
A major point of contention was to find a way to reinvent Roseanne that would not financially benefit Barr, which was said to be a top demand from ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey and Werner. The series was created by Matt Williams (the show’s first showrunner, who departed in season one after clashing with the actress) and is based upon a character (yes, singular) created by Barr.
As THR previously reported, Barr had agreed in principle to walk away from the characters she helped create in order to allow the cast and crew to pursue a spinoff. But since Barr would be entitled to substantial fees and backend on a Roseanne spinoff, the actress had to waive those rights before a new take could move forward. The last key hurdle was over what, if any, one-time payment Barr was to receive as “go-away money,” as one source put it. Barr will retain an executive producer credit on the new take, per WGA rules.
The move to breathe new life into the franchise comes as Disney was on the hook to pay stars Gilbert (who plays Darlene), Metcalf (Jackie) and Goodman (Dan) 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 expected to be paid for at least 10 episodes since their options were exercised. What was less clear was if and how the writing staff, including showrunner Helford, were to be compensated.
Following the cancellation, ABC found itself in a unique position. Roseanne was due to return in the fall and open the network’s Tuesday lineup as ABC was briefly poised to head 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 said, may have been on the hook for “tens of millions of dollars” after axing the series.