‘The Conners’ Renewed for Season 2 by ABC

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Looks like the Conner family can continue to make themselves at home at ABC, as the broadcast network has renewed its highly-rated “Roseanne” spinoff series, “The Conners,” for a second season.

The cast for Season 2 includes series regulars John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner-Healy and Ames McNamara as Mark Conner-Healy. Additional cast members will be announced at a later date.

Ending on Jan 22, the 11-episode first season of the “The Conners” ranks as the No. 1 new comedy of the 2018-19 season in both total viewers, with an average of 9.5 million, and the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic, scoring a 2.2 rating average, according to the “most current” data from Nielsen.

Also Read: ‘The Conners’: ABC Boss Says ‘We Are Close’ on Season 2 Renewal

The “Roseanne” spinoff follows the Conner family — sans Roseanne, as she was fired by ABC last spring and the original revival series was canceled — as they grapple with parenthood, divorce, dating, aging and financial pressures in working-class America. “Through it all – the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails,” per ABC.

“We are proud to be continuing the story of the iconic Conners family,” Karey Burke, ABC Entertainment president, said Friday. “This team is fearless in their willingness to tackle contemporary issues with humor and heart, and I have no doubt they will continue to outdo themselves.”

Guest stars on Season 1 included Matthew Broderick, Juliette Lewis, Katey Sagal, Mary Steenburgen, Justin Long, Jay R. Ferguson and Sarah Chalke, among others. Additionally, some fan favorites from the original run of “Roseanne” reprised their roles for the spinoff’s freshman season, including Estelle Parsons as Beverly Harris, Natalie West as Crystal Anderson and James Pickens Jr. as Chuck Mitchell.

Also Read: Ratings: ‘The Conners’ Season Finale Grows 15 Percent, But ‘This Is Us’ Tops Tuesday

“The Conners” hails from Werner Entertainment and is executive produced by Tom Werner. Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez also executive produce.

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‘The Conners’: ABC Eyes Expanded Season 2; Cast Negotiations Underway

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Continuing the story of the Conner family without its matriarch was a risky proposition, and, thankfully for ABC, it worked. Spinoff series The Conners has done well and, not surprisingly, ABC would like a second installment.
I hear negotiations are un…

Matthew Broderick Cast as Aunt Jackie’s Love Interest on ‘The Conners’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Aunt Jackie is in the mood for romance!

Matthew Broderick has been cast as Peter, a new love interest for Laurie Metcalf’s character, on “The Conners,” an ABC spokesperson told TheWrap on Friday. The actor will be making his debut on the “Roseanne” spinoff during the Halloween episode, which airs Oct. 30 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

But before Broderick comes to Lanford, another big guest star will be stopping by, and he’s bringing by a romantic partner too. Yes, Tuesday’s episode, titled “Tangled Up in Blue,” will see the previously-announced return of Johnny Galecki, Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert’s) ex David, who is coming back with new girlfriend Blue (Juliette Lewis).

Also Read: 20 New Fall TV Shows Ranked by Premiere Viewers: From ‘The Conners’ to ‘Charmed’ (Photos)

Justin Long will also recur as Darlene’s new beau, so, drama, drama, drama afoot for the whole Conners family. And they just (kinda) got over Roseanne’s death!

The ABC comedy serves as a spinoff to “Roseanne,” which was canceled after series creator Roseanne Barr sent out a tweet suggesting that former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes.” The star’s tweet caused an immediate backlash on Twitter and ultimately led to ABC’s decision to cancel the series.

Barr’s co-stars implored ABC to let the show go on, albeit under a different name. The network ordered 10 episodes of the spinoff back in June, starring original cast members Metcalf, Gilbert and John Goodman, and more.

Also Read: Ratings: ‘The Conners’ Premiere Draws 10.5 Million Viewers

The show made its debut Tuesday, using its premiere to reveal that the family matriarch was written off the series via her death due to an opioid overdose.

“The Conners” airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.

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Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow Head to Broadway in ‘Hillary and Clinton’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Tony Award-winning actors Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow are returning to Broadway next year in a behind-closed-doors play written by “A Dolls House Part 2” scribe Lucas Hnath titled “Hillary and Clinton.”

Scott Rudin, who’s producing the play, announced that it will be directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello on Thursday.

“Hillary and Clinton” takes audiences behind closed doors in the state of New Hampshire during the early days of 2008, as a former First Lady named Hillary (Metcalf) is in a desperate bid to save her troubled campaign for president of the United States. Her husband, Bill (Lithgow), sees things one way; her campaign manager, Mark, sees things another, according to the statement announcing the play.

Also Read: ‘Three Tall Women’ Broadway Review: Glenda Jackson Charges Into the Night

“If any of this sounds familiar, don’t be fooled; in a universe of infinite possibilities, anything that can happen, will,” the statement reads.

Throughout the play, Lucas Hnath examines the politics of marriage, gender roles, and the limitations of experience and inevitability in this timely look at an American dynasty in crisis.

Previews for “Hillary and Clinton” will begin March 6, 2019, ahead of an official opening night on April 18, 2019. A theater for the show has yet to be announced.

“Hillary and Clinton” playwright Hnath received a 2017 Tony Award nomination for Best Play with “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” which was this year’s most produced play in America. And Metcalf has had a year full of accolades. She won the 2018 Tony as a featured actress for her roll in “Three Tall Women,” after winning in 2017 for her leading role in Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”

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Metcalf also garnered Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for her supporting role in Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird.” She picked up an Emmy nomination this year for “Roseanne” as well.

Lithgow, who wrapped up his one-man show “John Lithgow: Stories by Heart” this summer, won the best supporting actor Emmy in 2017 for his role as Winston Churchill in Netflix’s “The Crown.” He will play the late Roger Ailes in Annapurna’s upcoming untitled film about the sexual harassment scandal that put an end to the former Fox News chairman’s career.

The creative team on “Hillary and Clinton” includes Chloe Lamford (set design), Tony and Academy Award winner Ann Roth (costume design), and Tony Award winner Hugh Vanstone (lighting design).

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Laurie Metcalf & John Lithgow Set For Broadway’s ‘Hillary And Clinton’

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Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow will return to Broadway next spring in Hillary and Clinton, a just-announced production by A Doll’s House, Part 2 playwright Lucas Hnath. To be directed by Joe Mantello and produced by Scott Rudin, the play goes &#…

‘The Conners’ Stars on the Huge ‘Risk’ in Continuing Without Roseanne: ‘We Want to Finish Telling This Story’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

When the stars of “Roseanne” decided to pursue a spinoff series without the titular star, they new it wasn’t without risk.

“There was a lot of risk involved,” Laurie Metcalf said in a new interview with People magazine. “But we all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back.”

Metcalf added: “And you know, coming off such a high, it was hard to wrap our heads around.”

Also Read: ‘The Conners’ First Promo: Roseanne’s Dead, the Family’s Broke – Happy Halloween! (Video)

John Goodman and Sara Gilbert joined Metcalf in telling People about their decision to return to the show after the reboot was canceled last spring shortly after Barr sent out a tweet suggesting that former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes.”

Goodman, who plays the Conner family’s patriarch, said that they are grateful to Barr for agreeing to give up financial and creative control.

“That was a very big deal,” he told People. “To give us a chance.”

Also Read: Johnny Galecki Will Appear on ‘The Conners’ – and Juliette Lewis Will Play His Girlfriend

Still, the actors were initially reluctant to continue the show without Barr — but they ultimately came aboard. “There was the feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready,” Goodman. “There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story.”

“Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show,” Gilbert added.

In the promo for the sitcom, the matriarch has passed away and the family is broke as they head into the holiday season. “And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It’s been kind of built into the mix.”

“The Conners” premieres Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC. 

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‘The Conners’ Stars John Goodman, Sara Gilbert & Laurie Metcalf Address The Tweet That Ended ‘Roseanne’

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‘The Conners’: New Photos From ABC’s ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff

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Roseanne ‘Staying Neutral’ About ‘The Conners’ Spinoff: ‘I Got to Stay in the Middle or I’ll Go Dark’ (Audio)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Roseanne Barr said she will be steering clear of the “Roseanne” spinoff, “The Conners,” when it premieres this fall, and that she will be moving to Israel around that time.

“I’m not going to curse it or bless it,” Barr said of the upcoming spinoff on the Rabbi Schmuley Boteach Podcast over the weekend. “I’m staying neutral. That’s what I do. I’m staying neutral. I’m staying away from it. Not wishing bad on anyone, and I don’t wish good for my enemies. I don’t. I can’t. I just stay neutral. That’s what I gotta do. I have some mental health issues of depression and stuff. I got to stay in the middle or I’ll go dark, and I don’t want to do dark again. I’ve done it. After all, I was married to Tom Arnold.”

Saying she went down to Nashville to record a song and is writing a new sitcom, she added, “I have an opportunity to go to Israel for a few months and study with my favorite teachers over there, and that’s where I’m going to go and probably move somewhere there and study with my favorite teachers. I have saved a few pennies and I’m so lucky that I can go… It’s my great, great joy and privilege to be a Jewish woman.”

See Photo: ‘The Conners’ Reconvene: Here’s Your First Look at Roseanne-less Series in Production

ABC canceled “Roseanne” in May following Barr’s widely condemned tweet that said that former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett looked as if the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes” had a baby. After extensive negotiations to end Barr’s involvement, the network recently said it would move forward with a spinoff titled “The Conners.”

Barr has apologized for her remarks several times, and during her appearance on the podcast added, “It was a death to me. The death of a character I created.”

Also Read: John Goodman Says He Knows ‘For a Fact’ That Roseanne Barr Is ‘Not a Racist’

She added, “I should never have said I’m sorry in their world. In my world, I had to because I was sorry. For crying out loud, I was sorry. People were so angry and, I have to say, a little bit ill-informed about me that they would put me in the same box where they have people who call for the death of all Jews and want to enslave all black people — real racists that actually exist. They put me in this box with them, and how do they think that’s going to affect me? They don’t, and they’re under mind control.”

The new series will focus on Sara Gilbert’s Darlene Conner. John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman are also set to star. “The Conners” premieres on Oct. 16 on ABC.

Listen to the podcast below.

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‘The Conners’ Reconvene: Here’s Your First Look at Roseanne-less Series in Production (Photo)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Conner family is reunited — minus one — and it feels so good.

ABC’s “Roseanne” spinoff,” “The Conners,” officially began production Friday on the Warner Bros. lot, with the network sharing a photo of stars John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Jayden Rey, Michael Fishman, Ames McNamara, Lecy Goranson, and Emma Kenney all seated around the working class clan’s iconic kitchen table set.

Noticeably absent was Roseanne Barr, whose offensive “Planet of the Apes” tweet about ex-Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett in May led to her being fired and “Roseanne” being axed by the network. But ABC soon found a way to carry on by ordering the Barr-less spinoff “The Conners.”

Also Read: ‘The Conners’: ABC Chief Channing Dungey Hasn’t Seen a Script Yet

And last we heard of the Conner family, they were “playing catch-up” with the rest of broadcast TV’s fall slate.

ABC Entertainment Group President, Channing Dungey told TheWrap during the Television Critics Association press tour earlier this month that she has seen three outlines for the “Roseanne” spinoff sans Barr — but no script yet. And Dungey says the fact they were “behind compared to everybody else” in production is the reason the (kinda) new show didn’t present a panel during the press tour.

“We had that sort of stutter step in terms of getting up and running,” Dungey told TheWrap.

Also Read: John Goodman Says He Knows ‘For a Fact’ That Roseanne Barr Is ‘Not a Racist’

“I’ve seen three outlines,” Dungey said. “I think my team may have seen the first script yet but it hasn’t come to me. We don’t start production yet ’til the end of August, and so the feeling was we didn’t have enough yet to panel and they’re kind of playing catch-up to get back to the point where they’re on the same schedule on everyone else.”

Though the titular Roseanne isn’t coming back, family members Dan (Goodman), Jackie (Metcalf), Darlene (Gilbert), Becky (Goranson) and D.J. (Fishman) are. So are these outlines what they would have done on “Roseanne” Season 2 and just removed Roseanne from the story?

Also Read: Roseanne Barr Thanks John Goodman for ‘Speaking Truth About Me’

“I think some of those things are,” Dungey said. “I mean, obviously, the prism and the lens of which those stories are told is going to shift, but certain stories we wanted to tell — for example about Dan and his work, we can still tell those stories. Some stories about Darlene as a single parent — we can still tell those stories. So, there are some elements that remain the same moving forward and then there are other parts that are new and are different.”

See the first look at “The Conners” in production below.

“The Conners” will premiere Tuesday, Oct. 16 at 8/7c on ABC.

ABC

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‘Roseanne’ Spinoff: Can ABC’s ‘The Conners’ Carry the Torch at 8 PM?

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Conners are coming back — just, you know, minus one. But can “The Conners” carry “Roseanne’s” torch without Roseanne?

Well, it had better, because the “Roseanne” spinoff sitcom, which ABC ordered 10 episodes of sight-unseen after weeks of negotiations following its decision to fire Barr, has some big shoes to fill. The Disney broadcast network has scheduled “The Conners” in its vacated “Roseanne” time slot, Tuesdays from 8 p.m.-8:30 p.m. That spot kicks off the entire evening’s lineup, and ABC saw huge Nielsen numbers — a 5.3 rating/23 share among adults 18-49 and 18.652 million total viewers, on average — there this past season.

Those figures, which include a week’s worth of delayed viewing, are hard to come by in the modern television ecosystem, and will be difficult to replicate. But Samba TV CEO Ashwin Navin believes Dan (John Goodman), Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), Darlene (Sarah Gilbert), Becky (Lecy Goranson) and D.J. (Michael Fishman) may be up to the task.

Also Read: ‘The Conners’: ABC Orders ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff Straight-to-Series for This Fall

“There aren’t many scripted shows that cater to this audience,” Navin told TheWrap, referring to Trump supporters. That’s a group who wants to relate to its TV characters — much like its politicians, clearly.

But with Roseanne Conner — the Trump-supporter and Republican of the bunch — out of the picture (and the credits), will the loyal “Roseanne” audience revolt? Not if the “Conners” writers are smart businesspeople, Navin said.

“As long as they don’t dramatically shift the narrative [from ‘Roseanne’],” the “opportunity is there to preserve the numbers” — and perhaps even to grow them, he explained.

Also Read: Tom Arnold Teases Anti-Trump Alliance With Michael Cohen: ‘The Dude Has All the Tapes’

So how will ABC handle its post-Roseanne version of the show? Below is ABC’s official description for “The Conners.”

After a sudden turn of events, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before. This iconic family – Dan (Goodman), Jackie (Metcalf), Darlene (Gilbert), Becky (Goranson) and D.J. (Fishman) – grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

That “sudden turn of events” almost surely refers to Roseanne Conner’s (Roseanne Barr) sudden exit.

Tom Werner will executive produce “The Conners,” along with Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez. Helford, Caplan and Rasmussen are also writers on the spinoff. The series is from Tom Werner and Werner Entertainment.

Also Read: ‘The Conners’: People Have Mixed Feelings About ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff

At least one ad buyer believes that “The Conners” could surpass “Roseanne.” “Some of the characters they’re keeping are more fun than Roseanne,” Barry Lowenthal, president of ad agency The Media Kitchen, told TheWrap. “That actually might wind up being a much better show.” He added that for ABC, bringing the show back without Barr could go a long way towards placating fans who were upset by ABC’s employment of her to begin with.

“It’s kind of a nice statement for ABC to say: ‘We believe in the cast and crew. We believe what the show stands for without someone like Roseanne,’” he continued. “Bringing it back without her is almost a political statement within itself.”

But Navin argues ABC shouldn’t all-of-a-sudden let the show swing towards the other side of the political aisle. After all, there isn’t much on TV that skews Republican beyond crime shows, sports, and Fox News, per Samba’s research. “There was something working about this show,” Navin continued, emphasizing that it would be a bad idea to alienate conservatives in a “reactionary” attempt to continue distancing the remaining group from Barr.

Also Read: ‘The Conners’: People Have Mixed Feelings About ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff

Navin thinks the rush job for this fall is a good idea — “the sooner the better,” as he put it. Otherwise, some other platform is going to try to fill that vacuum. (And they probably still are, he said.)

The situation is reminiscent of the one NBC faced in 1987, when Valerie Harper left after the first two seasons of her eponymous sitcom, “Valerie,” over a salary dispute. As ABC just did, NBC continued the show without its title character, renaming it twice: First “Valerie’s Family” and then “The Hogan Family.”

ABC could take a page out of CBS’ playbook in handling the promotion for “The Conners.” In 2011, CBS fired Charlie Sheen off its very successful sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” and replaced him with Ashton Kutcher. The whole saga intrigued viewers who tuned in to find out just how CBS would write out Sheen’s sudden departure.

CBS was able to convert the intrigue — even incorporating that into its marketing — into record ratings. The Sept. 19, 2011 premiere, which opened on a funeral for Sheen’s character, scored a gigantic 28.7 million viewers and a colossal 10.7 rating in the advertiser-preferred demo — and that was just the “live” numbers.

Also Read: Tom Arnold Teases Anti-Trump Alliance With Michael Cohen: ‘The Dude Has All the Tapes’

But that didn’t last very long.

By the end of the season, the show drew fewer than 12 million “live” viewers for its season finale, according to Nielsen data. The following three seasons all averaged fewer viewers than when Charlie Sheen was still on the show — though it went through even more changes during those seasons, as Angus T. Jones left the show, only returning for the series finale.

But getting viewers into the store is hard enough, and Lowenthal argues that intrigue over Barr’s ouster already puts “The Conners” ahead of a lot of other new shows that premiere this fall. “Attracting an audience is a really difficult thing these days. Any show that has buzz from the get go is probably a good place to start.”

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‘The Conners’: ABC Orders ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff Straight-to-Series for This Fall

‘The Conners’: ABC Orders ‘Roseanne’ Spinoff Straight-to-Series for This Fall

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Conners are back! ABC has ordered a Roseanne-less “Roseanne” spinoff, fittingly (and tentatively) titled “The Conners.”

The new sitcom has been greenlit straight-to-series, with 10 episodes set to debut in Fall 2018. Starring John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson and Michael Fishman, “The Conners” will air in “Roseanne’s” vacated Tuesdays from 8 p.m.-8:30 p.m. time slot.

Additional cast members and a premiere date will be announced later.

Also Read: Roseanne Will Have No ‘Creative or Financial’ Role in Spinoff ‘The Conners’

Here is ABC’s official description for “The Conners”:

After a sudden turn of events, the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before. This iconic family – Dan (Goodman), Jackie (Metcalf), Darlene (Gilbert), Becky (Goranson) and D.J. (Fishman) – grapples with parenthood, dating, an unexpected pregnancy, financial pressures, aging and in-laws in working-class America. Through it all, the fights, the coupon cutting, the hand-me-downs, the breakdowns – with love, humor and perseverance, the family prevails.

That “sudden turn of events” almost surely refers to Roseanne Conner’s (Roseanne Barr) sudden exit.

Also Read: Roseanne Barr: I’ve ‘Developed a Bit of Palsy in My Head and Hands’ Due to Stress

Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series, ABC said. Read more about that, as well as a statement from Barr, here.

“The Conners’ stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago,” ABC said in a statement.

The returning announced cast said the following in a joint statement:

“We have received a tremendous amount of support from fans of our show, and it’s clear that these characters not only have a place in our hearts, but in the hearts and homes of our audience. We all came back last season because we wanted to tell stories about the challenges facing a working-class family today. We are so happy to have the opportunity to return with the cast and crew to continue to share those stories through love and laughter.”

Also Read: Roseanne Barr Almost Co-Starred in ‘SMILF’

Tom Werner will executive produce “The Conners,” along with Gilbert, Bruce Helford, Dave Caplan, Bruce Rasmussen and Tony Hernandez.

Helford, Caplan and Rasmussen are also writers on the spinoff. The series is from Tom Werner and Werner Entertainment.

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