A 'Roseanne' Spinoff About Darlene Is Reportedly In The Works At ABC
Earlier this week, a racist tweet by Roseanne Barr caused ABC to cancel Roseanne. Now, just about 72 hours later, a Roseanne spinoff about Darlene is reportedly in the works at the network, according to a report by TMZ, published Friday, June 1. (Bustle reached out to ABC for comment on the rumored spinoff, but has not yet received a response.)
According to TMZ's report, "sources familiar with the situation" told the outlet that widely beloved sitcom's parent network is, apparently, "exploring the possibility of re-branding the show and focusing on the character Darlene instead of Roseanne." A similar report by Entertainment Weekly also reported that some sort of Roseanne reboot might be happening at ABC, though it doesn't mention Sara Gilbert's beloved veteran character.
As the revamped family sitcom's more seasoned fans know already, Darlene Conner, played by Gilbert, has been an integral part of the series since its inaugural run during the late '80s and '90s. And, of course, the tough-as-nails single mom has only continued provided viewers with wonderfully acerbic one-liners with the recent Roseanne reboot. So, if there's any truth to the new spinoff reports, it would make sense that Darlene might prove herself a prime candidate for the maybe-spinoff's leading role. (Though, this does beg the question: Would the spinoff be called Darlene, instead?)
Per TMZ, Gilbert has reportedly been reaching out to fellow Roseanne cast members to see whether they'd be interested in a spinoff series. That is, if ABC ends up giving Darlene's reported spinoff the go-ahead in the first place. According to the report, John Goodman — who, much like Gilbert, reprised his role as Dan Conner in this year's Roseanne reboot — is supposedly "very interested" in any potential spinoff series that might come to fruition in the aftermath of Roseanne. According to Deadline's report about the sitcom's cancellation earlier this week, Gilbert also had a pretty significant role in making the first Roseanne reboot happen. So, it seems plausible that she could be similarly rooting for the series now.
As TMZ noted in its report, Tom Werner (who heads Carsey-Werner, Roseanne's production company) is supposedly keen on a Darlene-centric spinoff and is "involved in the effort to reboot the show around [Gilbert]." Plus, ABC seemed pretty apologetic in its e-mail to staff earlier this week in an e-mail obtained by CNN's Oliver Darcy. In the e-mail, ABC President Ben Sherwood discussed the jobs (and talents) lost in the wake of Roseanne's cancellation. As several reports have acknowledged, a spinoff series might be a good way to re-direct the talents of the series' cast and crew.
All of this comes on the heels of Tuesday's events, when Barr incited a social media backlash after posting an offensive, racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama's former advisor. Following the massive backlash, Barr deleted the tweet and issued several apologies, one of which directly addressed those members of Roseanne's cast and crew who'd suddenly lost their jobs. According to a report by Entertainment Weekly, that particular apology tweet, posted May 30, read:
"I just want to apologize to the hundreds of people, and wonderful writers (all liberal) and talented actors who lost their jobs on my show due to my stupid tweet."
Just hours after Barr's offensive tweet circulated social media, ABC announced that it had decided to cancel the sitcom altogether. Confirming Roseanne's cancellation, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey issued the following statement to Bustle:
"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show."
In her own response to Barr's comments as well as Roseanne's cancellation, Gilbert pretty much echoed the sentiments expressed in ABC's earlier announcement. In the first of two eventual tweets sharing her thoughts on the situation, Gilbert wrote,
"Roseanne's recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show."
The rumblings of a potential Roseanne spinoff spotlighting Darlene might not end up holding any real weight. But if they do, Gilbert seems like a fitting lead for the next chapter of the franchise.