ABC’s addiction to Roseanne

Straight out.  I was never a fan of Roseanne Barr.  I maybe watched three episodes of her TV show when it debuted back in 1989 or so.  For me, it wasn’t funny.

For millions of other TV viewers, it was enjoyable.  And for years, it was one of ABC’s top rated TV shows; it also made millions of dollars in syndication.

But I couldn’t watch it.  I didn’t think that Roseanne Barr was that funny.  I’m not being a snob or anything like that, I do enjoy lowbrow humor now and again, but Roseanne’s humor was just too crass for me.

But it made millions of dollars and got heaps of viewers for ABC.

And the more viewers Roseanne Barr’s TV show garnered, the more ABC wanted to have their entire existence tied to their televised “domestic goddess.”  Heck, she even had her own super-deformed cartoon series – you know how Howie Mandel had his own kid’s show “Bobby’s World”?  Well, meet “Little Rosey.”

I warned you.

So Roseanne’s TV show lumbered on for what, nine years, and then finally exited TV.  I think she had a talk show for a couple of years, but I never watched it.

Now we spin forward to 2018, when ABC brings back Roseanne as a rebooted TV show, an updated sitcom about how Roseanne Connor is now aligned with the ideals and beliefs of Donald Trump.

Maybe this revival got its inspiration from conflict comedies like All in the Family, where Archie Bunker contained and issued his own prejudices every week.  I don’t know. I heard there was a Roseanne revival … I chose to watch an episode of SmackDown Live instead.  Trust me, I’d rather see an A.J. Styles / Shinsuke Nakamura match over whatever this revival brings.

But apparently what it brought was a ginormous audience.  The largest viewing for an ABC sitcom in decades.

And of course, guess who crowed like a rooster about it.


On the strength of that one revived episode, ABC saw dollar signs.  Big fat dollar signs.  And they immediately signed Roseanne up for a new season.   And if there was any publicity to promote the new season, guess who was the first person ABC pushed out there to promote their programming.

No, not Freddie Highmore.  Although I hear that show has some fans as well.

But see, here’s the thing.  ABC saw money and ratings and profits in the Roseanne revival.  But with that Roseanne revival came Roseanne Barr’s opinions.  And her Twitter account.  And her public statements and vulgarities and crassness and crudeness.  And Roseanne’s racial jokes and epithets.  And they all came to a boil yesterday, with nasty, vulgar tweets about Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett’s parentage, about Chelsea Clinton’s marriage, about many, many putrid and insipid things.

And once the boil hits, you can’t cure the scalding.

At that moment, ABC realized that the ratings points and revivals of Roseanne’s TV show were not worth this.  Two months after the rebooted sitcom returned to TV, it was abruptly cancelled.  The episode scheduled for last night was hastily replaced with a rerun of The Middle.  No, I didn’t watch that show either, there was a Shinsuke Nakamura / Tye Dillinger match on SmackDown Live that was more entertaining.

Look, ABC certainly did the right thing yesterday.  They didn’t need to hold their noses and say, “Well, that’s just Roseanne being Roseanne, look at the ratings we’re getting.”

But ABC knew what they were getting into when they signed Roseanne for a new TV series.  They knew they were working with a firebrand.  They knew they were aiming for an audience. They were the ones that renewed the show almost instantaneously after one single episode.

It should not have come to this in the first place.

I’m glad, though, that ABC did grow a spine and remove Roseanne Barr from their broadcast schedule.

I just wish they hadn’t hitched their entire existence to her for the past two months.