'Roseanne' Showrunner Whitney Cummings Exits

Whitney Cummings won't be returning to Roseanne for season 11 as a co-showrunner, executive producer Bruce Helford said.

Helford told The Hollywood Reporter that he will be the lone showrunner next season as the ABC sitcom is making some changes behind the scenes.

"I think Whitney is going to be too busy," Helford told THR Friday morning. "Whitney is always a member of the family of the show but she's got so much going on. I don't know how she had time to work on the show in the first place. I don't think she'll be able to join us in the capacity she was joining us in this first season."

Earlier this year, Cummings told THR that she felt as thought she had to be the "PC police" behind the scenes.

"I was the 'you can't say that anymore' and 'now this is the word we use' one," said Cummings, who was still in grade school when Roseanne originally bowed. "And they were like, 'Yeah, but that's not how people in this town at this age in this income bracket talk.' And I learned, it's not about what we would say, it's about what they would say."

But the show is hanging onto writers Wanda Sykes and Norm MacDonald, while simultaneously bringing in new voices to diversify the writer's room. Joining the writing staff are queer author, writer and comedian Ali Liebgott (Transparent), Emily Wilson (AP Bio), comedian Jena Friedman, and Ted Jessup (Family Guy).

Roseanne writers Dave Caplan and Bruce Rasmussen were promoted to executive producer. Roseanne Barr serves as head writer, as she did on the original series.

"We have a lot of new voices, younger voices, which I think is important on the show," Helford said. "I'll be showrunning next season. We run a democratic room, almost nobody has a stronger voice than anybody else; everybody's input is there. I'm excited because there are a lot of new voices and because I believe we've got the best of the voices who have been part of it continuing."

Barr recently responded to reports that Roseanne would move away from politics and focus more on the Conner family after ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey claimed next season would do so.

"ABC has been nothing but supportive to me and my show and all of our ideas. The press has misrepresented what ABC President said about our new season," Barr wrote on Twitter.

Her words are a direct response to media reports of Dungey's addressing of reviews and concerns that the revival series has been too political.

"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."

Dungey went on to add "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."


The series, which has pulled in record ratings and earned ABC the distinction of hosting TV season's No. 1 show, a title that the network has not enjoyed in 18 years, has been on the receiving end of backlash on several occasions for its vocal political views.