While I was on my walkabout, ABC canceled “Roseanne.” It feels like ages ago, but it’s been a little over a week. I did a few interviews about it, which can be summed up with this quote of mine from Politico. Names have been changes to protect the innocent.
“She’s a pimple on the tushy of The Walt Disney Co., and they lanced it,” said the Masked Scheduler, a former network executive at NBC and FOX.
Scheduler said he initially was surprised by the decision to ax “Roseanne,” which had become a huge ratings hit for a network desperately in need of one. “You’re talking about the highest-rated comedy of the season. … My initial reaction was, ‘Wow, that’s surprising,’ but then you think about it for a minute or two. You think about scale. … Are they going to put the success and the power of the company on protecting her?”
I received several questions from you all about the cancellation, and I selected three that are representative.
AP asks, “What do you think ABC will/should do now with an opening at 8:00? Tuesdays were a hard night for ABC, but it seemed with ‘Roseanne’ anchoring the night and a buzzworthy show in ‘The Rookie,’ ABC would have finally turned around Tuesdays in the fall, but now Tuesdays look rough again.”
ABC has built themselves a solid roster of family comedies, and moving “Fresh Off the Boat” and “Speechless” over to the Friday “bullpen” looks prescient. They also have the two best fall comedies in “Single Parents” (although I personally found it a bit grating) and “The Kids Are Alright” (which I liked a lot). Had “Roseanne” not imploded, it would have helped turn “Kids” into a legitimate success.
So now, they have three anchors in “The Goldbergs,” “Modern Family” and “Black-ish” and three other veteran comedies, one of which probably needs to lead off an hour somewhere. My gut is they will not put a freshman in the 8 or 9 slot. Making a move to strengthen themselves on Tuesday will probably diminish their Wednesday delivery, but they need to do something.
Since they need to protect their two freshmen shows, I would move “The Goldbergs” to Tuesday at 8 to lead into “The Kids Are Alright,” move “American Housewife” to 8 on Wednesday and put either of the Friday comedies at 8:30. In the short run, they could air some repeats at 8:30 on Friday. If “Schooled,” the “Goldbergs” spinoff, is ready in the fall, all bets are off.
B9 wonders, “Should ABC consider making a ‘Roseanne’ spinoff? All they need to do is kill off Roseanne with a drug overdose (as referenced per the last episode) and maybe bring in a new love interest for Dan with an Archie Bunker/Roseanne like personality (to play the stooge/straight woman for Laurie Metcalf’s and Sara Gilbert’s Meathead-like liberal sounding board. Maybe even use the spin off as a ‘teachable moment’). The curiosity factor alone will probably boost the ratings.”
Honestly, doing this is a backhand way of rewarding Roseanne Barr, since she would be an executive producer on that show. If I were ABC, I would move on and not keep the focus on them and their decision, which was a wise one. Also remember, ABC/Disney does not own the show, so it would probably lose money for them. “Roseanne” would have probably been profitable next season.
At the end of the day, the success of the show was Roseanne Barr, and without her it would be “Valerie’s Family” or “Sanford Arms.”
BS inquires, “With the abrupt cancellation of ‘Roseanne,’ would ABC consider un-cancelling anything from last year?”
I seriously doubt it. They have moved on from their rejects. It’s more likely the network would move up one of its midseason shows. I think when the dust settles, ABC will be all right, and comfortable knowing they made the right decision both morally and from a business perspective.