ABC’s golden goose that was “Roseanne” has quickly become a sterile cow without its title character. Coming into week 2 of the show’s spinoff, “The Conners,” the ratings have taken a massive nosedive with no sign of stopping.
According to Deadline, the spinoff sitcom “was down 29% in 18-49 (-26% from the fast national) and down 26% in viewers from the premiere.”
By contrast, the “Roseanne” reboot dropped only 25% in the 18-49 graphic and just 16% in viewers in week 2 following its major debut at number one this past spring. If “The Conners” does not reverse the downward spiral, it will inevitably face cancellation.
The effect that Roseanne Barr’s absence has had on the show cannot be understated and has been felt ever since “The Conners” premiered last week.
“The debut airing delivered 10.5 million viewers and a 2.3 rating among adults 18-49,” Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd reported following “The Conners” premiere. “That’s down 55 percent from the premiere of Roseanne last spring, but was on par with Roseanne‘s finale and even managed to edge out NBC’s ‘This Is Us’ for the night.”
On the flipside, the openly conservative “Last Man Standing” came back to FOX and flew high at number one. From Variety:
“Last Man Standing” debuted its seventh season on Fox Friday night, with the Tim Allen-led sitcom rocketing past its previous season numbers on ABC.
“Last Man Standing” averaged a 1.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 8 million viewers, airing at 8 p.m. By comparison, the Season 6 premiere on ABC drew a 1.1 rating and 6 million viewers, while that season as a whole averaged a 1.2 rating and 6.4 million viewers. In fact, the last time the series drew over 8 million viewers was back in its fourth season, and the last time it drew a 1.8 rating or better was in Season 2. It was also Fox’s most watched comedy on any night in nearly seven years, excluding NFL nights, and was by far the top-rated show of Friday night.
Roseanne Barr was ousted from her own sitcom earlier this year due to a racially-charged tweet targeting former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, whom she described as a cross between the Muslim Brotherhood and “Planet of the Apes.” Roseanne initially claimed she didn’t realize that Jarrett, who was born to parents of African-American and European descent, was black.
“The Conners” wrote Roseanne’s character out by saying she died of an opioid overdose, a decision that the actress expressed much dissatisfaction about in a statement on Twitter. “That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show,” she wrote.
Her co-star, John Goodman, has said the show has become a “hollow center” without her on it. “It felt great to be back, but there’s a hollow center. I miss Rosie real bad,” Goodman told USA Today.
It appears that audiences feel the same.