In a Touch of Realism, the ‘Roseanne’ Reboot’s Main Character Will Support Trump
Posted January 8, 2018 10:57 p.m. EST
PASADENA, Calif. — Whether the reboot of the sitcom “Roseanne” will be a success for ABC remains an open question, but it will not be lacking in controversy.
Roseanne Barr, the show’s star, was asked repeatedly at a news media event here on Monday about her support — and her character’s support — of President Donald Trump two months before the show’s revival.
Barr told reporters that she was not an “apologist” for Trump but said that her character in the reboot of the show was a way to address head-on the strong divide in the country.
“I’ve always had it be a true reflection of the society we live in,” Barr said. “Half the country voted for him, half of them didn’t. It’s just realistic.”
“Roseanne,” which went off the air in 1997, centered on a working-class family, a novelty for television at the time, and delivered big ratings and good reviews. The revival will bring back much of the original cast — including Sara Gilbert, John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf — and producers for the show said this was the perfect time to bring back a working-class comedy.
Gilbert, who will return playing Roseanne’s daughter Darlene and is an executive producer of the series, said the show sought to talk about the political divide “within the context of a family.”
Barr’s real-life support of the president and her frequently charged opinions that she shares on Twitter have already prompted a BoycottRoseanne hashtag on social media.
Barr said that her children took away her Twitter account, and that she planned to stay off social media in the coming months.
“I didn’t want it to overshadow the show,” she said.
She added, using a neologism found on the internet, “I think it’s the time to close ranks and see an end to ‘hatriotism’ in this country.”
“Roseanne” is just the latest reboot in television in the past few years. Shows including “Full House,” “24” and “The X-Files” have also been brought back as TV executives, particularly on the broadcast networks, try to grab the attention of viewers who have never been more distracted.
ABC needs a couple of hits. Despite introducing the biggest new hit in TV this season — its Monday night drama “The Good Doctor” — the network is in last place among the 18- to 49-year-old demographic important to advertisers. Shonda Rhimes, its most reliable hitmaker, jumped ship and signed a deal to make all her future projects for Netflix.
ABC will not rest its hopes entirely on “Roseanne.” It is also bringing back “American Idol” in March, a show that went off the air on Fox two years ago because of low ratings.
Though “American Idol” lost a big part of its audience, Ryan Seacrest, who will return as host, said Monday that the show would largely remain the same. “To change the show drastically,” he said, would be a mistake.
The judges of the new show will feature Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.
And will there be a new Simon Cowell to play bad cop on the show? Don’t bet on it.
“No one is here to say anything negative,” Perry said.