“The Conners” premiered on Tuesday night months after ABC abruptly fired Roseanne Barr. Now, the ratings are in, and the network is likely regretting getting rid of her so hastily after seeing the numbers.
Deadline reported that “The Conners” was down a humiliating 35% in viewership from the premiere of the “Roseanne” reboot one year ago. While network executives were not expecting it to beat the astonishing ratings that the premiere scored last year, they were expecting “The Conners” to have more presentable numbers than this. In fact, “The Conners” only scored 4% more viewers than the finale of “Roseanne” did in the spring, and that episode premiered just days after Barr’s infamous tweet about Valerie Jarrett.
ABC executives can only expect the ratings for “The Conners” to go down from here, as many fans were appalled to see how callously the show killed off the character of Roseanne Conner by way of an opioid overdose. The character of Roseanne had been beloved by audiences for decades, so to get rid of her this way left a bad taste in the mouths of many.
Barr herself immediately fired back on Twitter with her characteristic bluntness, writing, “I AIN’T DEAD, (EXPLETIVES)!!!” USA Today reported that she also issued a statement about her character’s death through her friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The statement read in part:
“While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of ‘The Conners’ … we regret that ABC chose to cancel ‘Roseanne’ by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show. … This was a choice the network did not have to make.”
— Roseanne Barr (@therealroseanne) October 17, 2018
Twitter users made it clear that they agree with Barr on this one, much to the dismay of ABC executives:
How ABC treated Roseanne’s character is how blue collar voters feel treated by the Dems. Not worth saving. https://t.co/GJWIu6tYTd
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) October 17, 2018
I was an avid Roseanne watcher and watched all of your reruns over and over but I will not be watching the. Conners without you Roseanne. This is ridiculous.
— Wanda Ranger (@WandaRanger) October 17, 2018
— Laurie Robertson (@LaurieRobertson) October 17, 2018
John Goodman also spoke out again on behalf of his longtime co-star.
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) October 17, 2018
In the end, ABC should have seen this coming. Fans watched “Roseanne” because of Roseanne Barr and what the character of Roseanne Conner brought to the program. To do the show without her was bad enough, but to throw her character away with a drug overdose so cruelly will undoubtedly be the nail in the coffin for “The Conners.”