‘The Conners’ return to TV without Roseanne this week

ROBERT TRACHTENBERG   |   ABC
THE CONNERS - ABC\u2019s \u201CThe Conners\u201D stars Maya Lynne Robinson as Geena Williams-Conner, Jayden Rey as Mary, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner, Ames McNamara as Mark, and Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner. (
ROBERT TRACHTENBERG | ABC THE CONNERS - ABC\u2019s \u201CThe Conners\u201D stars Maya Lynne Robinson as Geena Williams-Conner, Jayden Rey as Mary, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, John Goodman as Dan Conner, Laurie Metcalf as Jackie Harris, Sara Gilbert as Darlene Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner, Ames McNamara as Mark, and Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner. (
Published October 15

The Conners will be trudging along without matriarch and star Roseanne Barr.

The remaining cast members of the Roseanne spinoff have been leaning on one another in the wake of ABC’s firing of Barr in May after she made a racist remark on Twitter.

Nary a whiff of Barr or her titular character, who will likely be killed off the show when it premieres this week, was seen in the first promo for The Conners earlier this month. The promo instead shows the blue-collar Conner family moving on in her absence — much like the rest of the ensemble.

"Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show," said actor Sara Gilbert, who also serves as a producer on the sitcom, in a People story .

"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," she added.

The outspoken Barr, who has said she plans to retreat to Jerusalem due to the controversy, also agreed to have no creative or financial ties to the new series. (She previously served as star, executive producer and a writer on the highly rated Roseanne.)

The cast was hesitant about moving forward with a spinoff after the May cancellation, but for actor Laurie Metcalf, who was nominated for an Emmy playing Roseanne’s sister Jackie, it seemed to be worth the gamble.

"There was a lot of risk involved," Metcalf told the mag. "But we all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back."

Co-star John Goodman said he didn’t want the show — already a revival of the hit 1990s sitcom — to end "until we were ready."

"There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story," he said.

Come Tuesday, when The Conners premieres, all eyes will be on ABC’s ratings and whether the show’s decision to sever ties with Barr was also worth the risk.

Advertisement