The Conners production family has suffered an immeasurable loss after a crew member on the beloved ABC sitcom died on set Thursday. TMZ reports the crew member, who mostly worked on the show's lighting, was on a catwalk on Stage 22 Thursday when he suffered a medical emergency. Studio paramedics were called but were unable to resuscitate the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Conners' production company, Tom Werner's Werner Entertainment, confirmed the death in a statement to Deadline. "With heavy hearts, we regret to confirm that a member of our technical crew suffered a fatal medical event today. He was a much-loved member of The Conners and Roseanne families for over 25 years. As we remember our beloved colleague, we ask that you respect the privacy of his family and loved ones as they begin their grieving process."
The show was in production wrapping up Season 3 of its run when the incident occurred. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the show's third season was without a live audience, due to an abundance of caution for both the cast and crew of the successful show. Starring in Season 3 is John Goodman, Lecy Goranson, Sara Gilbert, Rene Rosado, Jay R. Ferguson, and Katey Sagal.
While the show handled coronavirus off-camera, executive producers Bruce Helford, Bruce Rasmussen, and Dave Caplan assured the audience ahead of the Season 2 finale that the pandemic would be "woven" into the Season 3 storyline. "We'll absolutely be dealing with it," Helford told TVLine at the time. "We're a show that reflects reality, so we're obligated [to address it]. I would think somebody in the family would be taking the jobs no one else wants, [like] working in grocery stores. They'd be taking jobs that put them at risk because they need the money, like most of blue-collar America."
The show also took a big step by introducing the character of Robin, a transgender woman who is a supervisor at the factory where Darlene and Becky work. Actress Alexandra Billings, who is trans, discussed the importance of introducing a character like hers into the show during a February interview with The Advocate. "The cast and crew are so smart and funny and kind and open, they're just great. It's a wonderful set," she said. "They were really smart about making this show a reflection of who America has turned into, but to throw in a trans character, I thought, took a lot of guts, and they did it with great aplomb, and they were smart about it."