The Conners star Michael Fishman recently spoke about the series' upcoming live Season 4 premiere and teased an interesting "extra element" will be featured. The "extra element" comes from the "You Can Be a Conner" sweepstakes that ABC previously launched. According to ABC, "a Conner family member will call each lucky sweepstakes winner for a live conversation regarding how they deal with some of the same life issues that the Conners navigate on a daily basis."
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight about the raffle, Fishman explained that part of the excitement of giving fans a chance to make a virtual appearance is that "you never know exactly what they're going to ask." He added, "That's part of the joy. That's part of the excitement for both us and the audience all at the same time." Fishman, who also works behind the camera as Conners director on occasion, then said, "I always think that the fans are part of this show. They're the extra element... So the best part is getting to share it in a totally unique way that no one has ever done before."
This is not the first time that The Conners has gone live, as the show featured a live episode during Season 2. Speaking to ET about the new live episode and the "You Can Be a Conner" sweepstakes, series star and executive producer Sara Gilbert said it is not "a stunt for stunt's sake." She continued, "When the writers came up with this idea that fans could actually be a Conner and be on the show, it became such a meaningful way to honor people for watching it."
Certainly, there are a lot of things that could go awry when inviting real-life fans to appear live on the show, but The Conners executive producer Bruce Helford has confirmed that the crew has a mute button in the event they need to cut someone off. "There's a little button we can push if we have to," he said, then adding that the cast is fully prepared for anything. "Whatever happens, whatever comes on, they'll respond to what we ask them." Helford continued, "We just love the idea that people are going to get the chance to come on... I just think the idea of getting to be part of the family is going to be pretty special." The Conners Season 4 premieres live on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 9 pm ET.