“Roseanne” might live to see another day, albeit with a twist. According to Variety, executive producer Tom Werner, co-star and producer Sara Gilbert, and showrunner Bruce Helford are in preliminary discussions with ABC to figure out a way to continue the series without its central star, Roseanne Barr. The controversial comedian got the show cancelled on May 29 after making a racist joke on Twitter referring to former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett as a mix between the “Muslim Brotherhood” and “Planet of the Apes.”
A source close to production told Variety that Werner, Gilbert, and Helford are preparing to sit down with ABC executives this week to discuss a potential future for the series. The source made it clear that everyone involved knows it’s a long shot to get the series back on air. One idea mentioned in a report by Entertainment Weekly is to create a similar but new show centered around modified versions of the characters played by Gilbert, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and more.
Both Variety and Entertainment Weekly note the biggest roadblock standing in the way of a variation of “Roseanne” is the fact Barr has a major financial stake in the series. Depending on how the revival’s cast and creators decide to continue the show, it could end up financially benefitting Barr. “Roseanne” was a ratings blockbuster for ABC this season, which makes it a no-brainer as to why the network would be open to at least considering a continuation of some kind.
Barr’s racist joke was slammed by co-stars such as Michael Fishman and Gilbert. The latter wrote on her social media pages: “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.” Barr went on to apologize for the joke, admitting she “made a mistake.”