ABC expects Roseanne to continue on its path away from politics and more toward family in storylines for Season 2, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters on a new-schedule phone call this morning.
Returning Roseanne will kick off Tuesdays in the fall, leading in to new 70s-set single-cam comedy The Kids Are Alright, about a large working class-family sharing close quarters. Roseanne redux was the biggest hit of the 2017-18 broadcast season, despite – or because of – being a 30 year-old show headlined by an outspoken Trump supporter, playing a character who is an outspoken Trump supporter.
Its ratings were so stunningly large, Donald Trump called Roseanne Barr to congratulate her – and then took credit for her numbers.
This seasons first episode “did touch on some of that in the first episode in a very funny way,” Dungey acknowledged of the star/characters Trump support. But, the ABC Entertainment chief insisted, that was in perfect keeping with conversations youd expect Roseanne Connor and sister Jackie to have had after the election, reflecting issues and conversations real American families were having at dining tables across the country.
“That said, having touched on that in the first episode of the season,” ABC will look for Season 2 to focus not so much on politics as family trials and tribulations.”
Despite Roseannes runaway success, ABCs new schedule is not thick with multi-cam comedies. Dungey said ABC was far along in this seasons development and pilot ordering before it re-launched Roseanne and realized it had a ratings behemoth on its hands.
“We at ABC have not had as much success with [multi-cam comedies] traditionally as competitors,” she noted. “Roseanne changed the game in that respect,” she said, adding shes looking forward to going into the next development season and looking at doing more.
Roseanne does however, fit in nicely with ABCs longstanding emphasis on family comedies. and fits well into the networks Tuesday comedy block already in place.
Asked if ABC regretted cancelling Tim Allen multi-cam comedy Last Man Standing two seasons back Dungey said the decision had been made two seasons back “with the best information we had at the time.”
Fox, whose sister studio produces the comedy, announced one day earlier that it was bringing it back on its primetime slate.
ABC aired Last Man Standing for a couple of years, in which it got “down to the wire” if it would be able to make a deal that made sense. “That year we were not able to come to terms and bring it back, but I wish them every success with that show,” Dungey told reporters this morning.
Asked if Roseannes success will affect programming decisions made going forward, Dungey responded that ABC always strives for a schedule as “diverse and inclusive as possible” in various metrics, including race, gender, religion “and also economic perspective.” Roseanne, she said, was “fresh for us…focusing on a family who is in different economic circumstances than a number of other comedies on our air.”
Per usual for ABC, the network has ordered 13 episodes for this coming season, Roseanne having been a mid-season starter. “We love the show and would happily do as many [episodes] as possible, but for the moment were happy with the 13,” Dungey said when asked why ABC did not boost the order on the TV seasons most successful new series.
She also got asked about a joke in one of the aired episodes referencing other ABC comedies that rubbed those programs showrunners the wrong way. “I was a bit surprised to the reaction to that line,” she admitted, saying she thought Roseanne writers were simply tipping their hat to the other series and was “not meant to offend. “They felt they were expressing the viewpoint of the Connors – what they would have said.”
The “overnight” sensation previously held the top spot as the most watched program on television 28 years ago, during the 1989-90 TV season when there were only three fully-fledged networks, with Fox only programming two nights a week.