Is Roseanne Dead on 'The Conners'? Producers Ditch Email to Avoid Plot Leaks

The Conners producers and ABC are keeping the Roseanne Barr-less spinoff's plot details so close to the vest, they refuse to use email to talk about the show.

During the Television Critics Association summer press tour, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey teased the new series — born out of the abrupt cancellation of the Roseanne reboot after Barr posted a racist tweet in May — which she said was arranged almost as quickly as its flagship series' cancellation.

"Literally the next day I was on the phone with (executive producer) Tom Werner, and he was asking whether we would be open to the idea, and about a week later, I was on the phone with Tom and [fellow executive producers] Bruce Helford and Sara Gilbert, talking about the general shape of what they might want to try to do, and we had a real conversation in another week or two after they had time to break it out. But it was one of those ideas that they came in with [a clear intention to make it work]. I was very excited about the idea of keeping people working, and I also thought there were more stories in that universe in Lanford for us to tell," Dungey told Deadline.

When press asked Dungey about what stories viewers could expect from the new show, or if Barr's Roseanne Conner would be dead in the new series, she remained silent, adding that the show is employing heavy security and relying on hand-delivered communications instead of email to avoid spoilers.

"What I can tell you is that thematically we will be focusing on a lot of the same themes that we were in the first nine episodes — what it's like today for a family to make ends meet in a world where they might be going into foreclosure, where work is scarce, where there are a lot of different challenges in terms of raising children as a single parent. All these issues are going to still be at the forefront," she said.

The Conners was officially greenlit at ABC on June 21. The 10-episode first season will also be multi-camera, as its predecessor.

The spinoff will follow the Conner family who, after "a sudden turn of events, are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before."

Producer Tom Werner and Barr reached an agreement that will allow Werner Entertainment to produce the spinoff for ABC without Barr's further creative or financial participation.

"I regret the circumstances that have caused me to be removed from Roseanne. I agreed to the settlement in order that 200 jobs of beloved cast and crew could be saved, and I wish the best for everyone involved," Barr said in a statement at the time.

Werner added: "We are grateful to have reached this agreement to keep our team working as we continue to explore stories of the Conner family."

The spinoff series reunites John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman for a third time.


"We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it's clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience. We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter," the cast of The Conners said in a joint statement.

The Conners premieres Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.