If The Conners' fans were worried that they wouldn't see Katey Sagal return to the show, worry no longer. Even though Sagal's new drama Rebel scored a 10-episode order on ABC, the actor will remain on The Conners as Louise, the girlfriend of Dan Conner (John Goodman). According to TV Line, The Conners' showrunner, Bruce Helford, shared an anecdote about how Sagal insisted that she remain on the show in the role of Louise despite her other television commitments.
Helford explained that Sagal sent him a note in which she stressed that her new role on Rebel would not interfere with her ability to appear on The Conners. "The first thing that Katey did [after Rebel was picked up] was send us an email saying, 'Do not hire a new girlfriend for Dan — I am not abdicating my role,'" Helford recalled with a laugh, adding that the actor's task will not be an easy one. "Rebel starts production in early November [so] it's going to be tough for her because she's going to be doing double production. So there will be some conflict. But we'll work on Saturdays [if we need to]. We intend for Louise to be around all season."
Season 3 of The Conners, which premieres on Wednesday, will also feature Sagal's Louise in a new light. As Helford noted, Louise has moved in with the rest of the Conners family amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in order to quarantine with them. For Louise, who isn't used to the family life since she was previously on the road as a musician, this adjustment is sure to be an interesting one. "We couldn't have Louise buzzing in and out whenever she wants, so she's quarantining with the family," Helford said, adding that this move is definitely an adjustment for the character. "She was a musician and always on the road. And she never got married and didn't have kids. She's used to living alone."
In September, ABC gave a 10-episode order to Rebel, a series that is inspired by Erin Brockovich and follows Annie "Rebel" Bello (Sagal), a blue-collar legal advocate with no official law degree. The series will be written by Krista Vernoff, who also serves as the Grey's Anatomy showrunner. "The work that Erin Brockovich does in this world is so powerful and so important that it almost defies description," Vernoff said in a statement. "Erin works tirelessly for social, legal and environmental justice despite the lack of a formal degree. She inspires everyone she meets to become their own heroes, and somehow, she also keeps us laughing. It has been a tremendous honor to get to know Erin and to create a show inspired by her. I am thrilled to be working with a dream cast led by the extraordinary Katey Sagal with the incredible Tara Nicole Weyr directing."