ABC took a giant threat with ‘Roseanne’ reboot — and it simply backfired


'Roseanne' canceled after star's racist tweets

For ABC, getting again into the “Roseanne” recreation wasn’t such an excellent enterprise transfer in spite of everything. And if community officers are stunned by that — and the recent controversy that triggered the present’s sudden, shocking cancellation — they actually have solely themselves guilty.

Roseanne Barr’s newest salvo on Twitter — which included a racist joke about former Obama administration aide Valerie Jarrett, and repeating a smear about billionaire George Soros oddly directed at Chelsea Clinton — introduced the sitcom to a crashing finish.

In an announcement, ABC Leisure president Channing Dungey called Barr’s remarks “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and now we have determined to cancel her present.”

ABC and its company father or mother, the Walt Disney (DIS) Co. clearly concluded that the advantages of being related to Barr — and the criticism they’ll obtain from her followers — weren’t going to be definitely worth the complications and backlash, which might nearly absolutely have included strain ways towards the present’s advertisers.

Disney CEO Robert Iger defended the decision, saying on Twitter, “There was just one factor to do right here, and that was the proper factor.”

Merely put, Barr was the loosest of free cannons. And Disney was little doubt left pondering what the following doubtlessly show-ending disaster could be, if not this one.

roseanne abc upfronts
John Goodman and Roseanne Barr in ‘Roseanne’

The massive scores for the premiere, furthermore, had cooled significantly. As MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell advised on Twitter previous to ABC’s announcement, “Roseanne’s scores aren’t price right now’s burden for Disney & ABC. They do not need to be courageous to cancel her. Possibly they simply need to be good enterprise executives.”

Related: ABC cancels ‘Roseanne’ after star’s racist Twitter rant

Barr had already apologized, however that apparently wasn’t sufficient. A part of that absolutely needed to do with a way that there was no escaping the bags that the actress/comedian delivered to the present together with her social-media persona.

Barr is hardly the primary massive sequence star to create issues for a community, including her prior stint on ABC, which started in 1988. CBS, for instance, initially stood behind Charlie Sheen — on the time the star of one in all its hottest sequence, “Two and a Half Males” — via a sequence of scandals and flare-ups earlier than lastly deciding to exchange him with Ashton Kutcher in 2011, after eight seasons.

Nonetheless, “Roseanne” is exclusive in sure methods, beginning with the truth that the excellence between Roseanne Barr and the fictional Roseanne Conner — a personality rooted in her stand-up act — has all the time been tough to reconcile, as critic Matthew Gilbert pointed out.

What stays clear is that ABC had each motive to be cautious about embarking on the undertaking — not solely due to Barr’s tweets, however how notoriously contentious her first run with this system was, producing near-constant turnover among the many writing employees.

ABC officers — together with Iger, who ran ABC Leisure within the early 1990s — can hardly fake that they have been unaware about Barr’s social-media presence and fondness for selling wild conspiracy theories. The truth is, the query came up last August, when Dungey met with press on the TV Critics Assn. tour after plans for the revival have been introduced.

Requested if she was involved that Barr may say one thing “that is going to make this new present untenable,” Dungey responded, “I attempt to simply fear concerning the issues that I can management.”

On the time, the response elicited laughter from the room. For ABC, the scenario little doubt feels much less amusing now.

CNNMoney (Los Angeles) First revealed Might 29, 2018: 3:00 PM ET

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