'The Conners' Debut Can't Touch 'Roseanne' Premiere but Remains Strong

The Conners series debut couldn't quite touch the Roseanne revival premiere ratings, but still [...]

The Conners series debut couldn't quite touch the Roseanne revival premiere ratings, but still remained strong.

The spinoff series reportedly pulled in 10.5 million viewers, and nabbed a rating of 2.5 in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to EW.

While that doesn't get anywhere close to the Roseanne revival's premiere episode of 18.2 million viewers, it's still close to what the revival series' finale did in the ratings.

The show even managed to outdo This Is Us, which is normally the biggest show on Tuesday evenings.

The debut episode of the series jumped right into the deep, using its half-hour to explain what happened to Roseanne Barr's character.

Roseanne Conner was revealed to have died after suffering an accidental opioid overdose. The show spent its entire season premiere showing how the family had been coming to terms with the death, something that will likely be explored more as the season continues.

Barr was fired from ABC and the Roseanne revival series was canceled after the comedian tweeted a racist comment about former Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett.

In a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Bruce Helford opened up about the choice to kill off Barr's character, and explained why it happened the way it did.

"There was a lot of chatter in the ether about how we should explain Roseanne's absence," Helford explained. "Should she have a sudden heart attack, a mental breakdown or go off into the sunset on a boat with her son Jerry Garcia? But back in the writers room, we firmly decided against anything cowardly or far-fetched, anything that would make the fierce matriarch of the Conners seem pathetic or debased."

"After much discussion by all parties, it was decided that we would have to make her departure clearly permanent," he added. "On a personal note, Roseanne [Barr] helped launch my career, and while we had our disagreements… I wanted a respectful sendoff for her, too — one that was relevant and could inspire discussion for the greater good about the American working class, whose authentic problems are often ignored by broadcast television. If you watched the first episode, I hope you'll agree we did that."

Barr has since responded to the show, releasing a joint statement with her rabbi, Shmuley Boteach.

"While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of The Conners, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne's cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character," the statement read in part. "That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show."

The Conners airs Tuesday nights on ABC.