You didn’t think the “Roseanne” saga was over, did you? The ABC revival series wasn’t just the highest rated sitcom of the season; it was an industry sensation, as it inspired other networks to return to multi-camera working-class family sitcoms for next fall. The star’s racism brought down the whole ship; but just maybe, just maybe, there’s room on the floating door for a few survivors?
Yup, a spinoff may well be coming our way in the fall. According to Deadline, “Roseanne” executive producers including Tom Werner, Sara Gilbert, and showrunner Bruce Helford have pitched a project to ABC that would continue the Connor story without Roseanne Barr but with the show’s writers, cast, and crew. It would be a return to the “Roseanne”-verse, minus its center.
In the meeting, ABC reportedly made it clear that Barr could have no involvement whatsoever — not creatively, and not financially. The financial involvement question means lawyers will need to take a deep dive into the nature of Barr’s specific credit on the show. While Matt Williams created “Roseanne,” it was “Based Upon a Character Created by Roseanne Barr.” If that character isn’t in the spinoff — even though she married and gave birth to the characters on the spinoff — does that cut out Barr? And if Barr sues, will her challenge have legs?
Those close to the project are “optimistic and hopeful” something can be worked out, according to Deadline. It would certainly solve a problem for ABC, which was left with a hole in its fall lineup when it canceled “Roseanne.”
Would the new show be “Darlene”? “Dan the Man”? “The Original Becky”? “Jerry Garcia Conner: He Lives!”? At least two high-profile writers have already offered their services on Twitter. Mindy Kaling said: “Laurie Metcalf and John Goodman let me write things for you.” And Lena Dunham said: “I will do the spin off of your show starring Darlene’s cool kids.”Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.