'The Conners' Stars Defend Killing off Roseanne Barr's Character

The Conners stars are defending the show killing off Roseanne Barr's character in the wake of the spinoff series' debut episode.

Stars Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman — as well as showrunner Bruce Helford — appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday morning to talk about the show and express support for the move to have Barr's Roseanne Conner die of an accidental opioid overdose.

"We really miss Roseanne and love her very much, you know and her spirit is still very much with us, so we understand that she's hurting right now and she's in pain and she's always with us," Goranson said sincerely. "Hopefully, we can see her and kind of remedy some of this at some point in time, I hope."

"The tone of the way she passed away was related to last season, and I think you listen to our producers, they really wanted to take a real crisis that's happening in our country and find a way to give voice to that," Fishman added. "I know that the reaction to that is going to be different to different people, but what we've always tried to do is tackle big topics and try to be honest about them."

Fishman went on to say that The Conners set has a "different feel" than what the vibe on the Roseanne revival had.

"What we really have tried to do as a group is collectively lean on each other and come together because we felt the legacy of this show deserved to be continued and there were a lot more stories to tell," he shared.

Regarding the decision and subsequent manner of how Barr's character would be killed, Helford explained that he and the shows writers did not take it lightly.

"There was a lot of chatter in the ether about how we should explain Roseanne's absence: Should she have a sudden heart attack, a mental breakdown or go off into the sunset on a boat with her son Jerry Garcia?" he wrote in a guest column for THR. "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."

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"After much discussion by all parties, it was decided that we would have to make her departure clearly permanent," Helford added. "But her death would have to be reverent to the woman who was so beloved by her family. And the result would have to leave no shadow over Dan, Jackie, Darlene, Becky, DJ and all of Lanford. It was a crucial story point so that the other characters could truly move on boldly with their lives, evolve and grow."

The Conners airs Tuesday nights on ABC.