'The Conners' Dedicate Live Episode to Norm Macdonald

When The Conners returned Wednesday night with a special live episode to kick off its Season 4 premiere, the ABC sitcom took a moment to pay tribute to their beloved friend and colleague Norm MacDonald. Macdonald, who passed away just a week before the Season 4 premiere following a private nine-year battle with cancer, had served as a writer on Roseanne in the '90s and also executive produced The Norm Show, which starred Roseanne and The Conners star Laurie Metcalf.

The tribute to Macdonald came at the end of The Conners Season 4 premiere, titled "Trucking Live in Front of a Fully Vaccinated Studio Audience." Following a 30-minute segment live from the Conners' home and that featured a Conner family member calling viewers at home, the cast, minus Lecy Goranson, gathered around the iconic Conner couch in the living room, with series star John Goodman holding a sign that read, "Dedicated to the memory of our friend and colleague Norm Macdonald." Together, the cast said, "Here's to you, Norm" before the show ended.

Born in Quebec City in 1959, Macdonald lived to the age of 61 until he passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 14 following a years-long battle with cancer that he kept private. His management firm Brillstein Entertainment confirmed his passing in a statement, stating that MacDonald "never wanted the diagnosis to affect the way the audience or any of his loved ones saw him." In addition to being well known for his time on Saturday Night Live, MacDonald had close ties to Roseanne, serving as executive producer on the original Roseanne and later as a consulting producer on the Roseanne 2018 revival, and had a decades-long friendship with Roseanne and The Conners executive producer Bruce Helford, who paid tribute to him online shortly after his passing.

"We did his Norm show together, which is one of the best shows I've ever done. And it was because he was so brilliant and irreverent and he pretended he didn't care, but he cared very much and worked really hard to create something unique. He was so admired by other comics because he had that rare gift — a voice that no one else had. A rhythm and a brain that were unlike anyone else," Helford said, Deadline reported. "We've been close all these years and I will miss him very much."

Along with his Roseanne credits, Macdonald was well-known for his time on SNL. He starred on the show from 1993 to 1998, memorably serving as sole anchor of the Weekend Update segment. He later made appearances in shows such as The Middle and made frequent guest appearances on late-night television programs. New episodes of The Conners air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.