ABC Boss Stands by 'Roseanne' Joke Regarding Black and Asian Families

As ABC executives say Roseanne will move away from politics during its second revival season, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey defended the joke the show made earlier in its first season about black and Asian families.

The comedy caught some controversy after its April 3 episode showed Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and Dan (John Goodman) waking up after falling asleep on the couch to make a joke some thought distateful.

Roseanne is scared awake by one of Dan's loud snores and she realizes the two have overslept.

"Dan! You're snoring, wake up!" Roseanne says as she jolts her husband awake. Dan asks what time it is and if he missed dinner.

"It's 11 o'clock! We slept from Wheel to Kimmel," Roseanne says, referencing Wheel of Fortune and Late Night with Jimmy Kimmel.

"We missed all the shows about black and Asian families," Dan says.

"Hmmm, they're just like us. There you're all caught up," Roseanne responds, dismissing Dan's comment.

Dungey defended the Roseanne writers on that particular incident Tuesday on a conference call with reporters, as reported by Entertainment Weekly.

"I was a little surprised, to be honest, by the reaction to that line," Dungey said. "We felt writers were looking to tip a hat to those shows. It certainly wasn't meant to offend. I do stand by the Roseanne writers. I think they were expressing the point of view of the Connors, and what they would have actually said. We do similar things on our other shows. We're very clear on black-ish about how many opinions are voiced by Dre Johnson."

Dungey also revealed that although the first episode of the rebooted season felt with opposing political views, she thinks the next season, which is slotted to return in the fall, will move away from politics.

"The show certainly did touch on some of that in the first episode in a very funny way, to look at the different political views between Roseanne and Jackie," she said. "That said, having touched on it in the first episode of the season, I think when you look on subsequent episodes of the run, the focus is not really on politics and much more on family and the everyday trials and tribulations that the family faces that still bring them together."

As far as its next season goes, "I think they'll continue on the path they're on toward the latter part of this season, which is away from politics and more focused on family," she said.

Dungey's comments came shortly after ABC announced its new fall schedule, which has Roseanne back for 13 episodes. The schedule has Fresh Off the Boat moving to Fridays at 8 p.m., where it will go head-to-head with a former ABC series, Last Man Standing, which was picked up by Fox after being canceled by ABC.


Fox executives said Monday that the success of Roseanne was a factor in bringing back Last Man Standing, which stars the politically conservative Tim Allen.

Dungey said Tuesday that the ABC canceling of Last Man Standing came after "we were not able to come to terms with out studio partners."