It seemed as if the reboot of Roseanne was a risk that paid off. Ever since Will & Grace announced it was coming back to a “limited run” (only to be extended to two full seasons after high ratings), it has become standard for networks to tease a reboot of a show as “limited,” while holding out hope that ratings will be good enough to cement a full season order (it’s a way to bring back the stars without the humiliation of “canceling” the show if it flops). And after Roseanne debuted in March to huge ratings — nearly 22 million viewers — ABC quickly announced it would come back in the fall.
It was risky to do that so early, though, because Roseanne Barr herself is such a divisive figure — supportive of LGBT rights, a putative hero of the working class… but also an unapologetic Trump supporter. Why couldn’t there be a right wing star or a sitcom on network TV, though? In fact, Roseanne’s success emboldened Fox to reboot Last Man Standing, a middling sitcom ABC canceled last season because, some alleged, they didn’t like the politics of its Republican star, Tim Allen.
Well, now ABC really is canceling a show because of its star’s politics… at least in part.
Roseanne tweeted what many have called an overtly racist statement, wherein she equated former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to the Muslim Brotherhood and a monkey. (Jarrett is African American.)
“Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj,” Barr tweeted, with “vj” a reference to Jarrett. When some replied that the comment was racist, Barr shot back that Islam is not a “race.” (She apparently overlooked the “apes” comment.)
Wanda Sykes, who appears on the show, was the first to announce she could not return because of the comments. Co-star and executive producer Sara Gilbert (Darlene) also tweeted out her contempt for Barr. Gilbert is openly gay. Barr later apologized and and deleted the tweet, and announced she was leaking Twitter. But the damage was done. Last this hour, ABC denounced the statement, and said it was canceling Roseanne. It’s truncated season aired its finale last week.
— Arnold Wayne Jones