After the massive success of its reboot season, Roseanne will turn its focus more on family and less on politics moving forward, according to ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey.
The classic sitcom revival pulled in ratings that TV executives rarely dare to dream of these days, and much of that was credited to the show's political leanings. The star and creator, Roseanne Barr, was very public in her support of President Donald Trump, and her character on the show was as well.
However, Dungey says that this will be a less essential part of the series moving forward. According to a report by Deadline, the network executive admitted that the season premiere “did touch on some of that in the first episode in a very funny way,” but it didn't stray from a characteristic conversation between Roseanne Conner and her sister Jackie.
“That said, having touched on that in the first episode of the season,” Dungey said that seaon 2 — or 11, depending on how you count — will focus more on “family trials and tribulations."
“We at ABC have not had as much success with [multi-cam comedies] traditionally as competitors,” she pointed out. “Roseanne changed the game in that respect.”
Dungey was reportedly asked about a joke in one of this season's episodes of Roseanne, where Roseanne and Dan fall asleep watching TV.
“We missed all the shows about black and Asian families,” Dan says in what was perceived as a reference to Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat.
“They’re just like us,” Roseanne says. “There, now you’re all caught up.”
“I was a bit surprised to the reaction to that line,” Dungey said of the backlash over the dismissive joke. “We thought the writers were tipping their hat to the writers of those shows," she said. “They felt they were expressing the viewpoint of the Conners – what they would have said,” she added.
Overall, Dungey said that the massive success of Roseanne, which is at least in part because of its conservative framing, has not shaken ABC's commitment to programming that is as “diverse and inclusive as possible.” She said that the network hopes to make more shows that appeal to people of all races, genders, religions “and also economic perspective.”
Dungey said that Roseanne fulfilled that last criteria. It was “fresh for us… focusing on a family who is in different economic circumstances than a number of other comedies on our air.”0comments
Roseanne will return to ABC with 13 new episodes next year.
“We love the show and would happily do as many [episodes] as possible, but for the moment we’re happy with the 13,” Dungey said.