ABC is considering rebooting “Roseanne” without Roseanne—but there’s one big hurdle

Too close for comfort.
Too close for comfort.
Image: AP/Invision/ Richard Shotwell
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Less than a week after ABC was forced to cancel Roseanne after its titular star, Roseanne Barr, went on a racist Twitter tirade, the network is reportedly interested in continuing the sitcom without her.

The show’s producers are meeting with ABC and Disney executives on Monday (June 4) to pitch a new direction for the series in the wake of its cancellation, Deadline reported. The effort is being spearheaded by actress Sara Gilbert, who plays Darlene, the daughter of Barr’s character. TMZ reported that a new version of Roseanne would likely center on Darlene.

Roseanne was swiftly canceled on May 29 only hours after Barr compared former Barack Obama senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, to an ape, and posted other unhinged, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to her Twitter feed. The tweets were the latest in a pattern of disturbing behavior from the actress. ABC president Channing Dungey, the only black head of a broadcast network, called Barr’s statement “abhorrent.”

Several Roseanne cast and crew members (including Gilbert)—all of whom lost their jobs because of Barr—publicly expressed their disappointment:

But now Gilbert and the show’s producers are trying to figure out a way to keep everyone employed. There remains one massive obstacle: Barr maintains an ownership stake in the series.

ABC has reportedly stipulated that the only way for the show to move forward is if Barr cannot benefit financially from it, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The network may attempt a buyout, but if they move forward without her, they could face legal action.

In 2011, actor Charlie Sheen settled a $100 million lawsuit against Two and a Half Men studio Warner Bros. Television and co-creator Chuck Lorre after he was fired from the series, from which he had received back-end pay.

Roseanne, itself a revival of the 1990s sitcom, is not yet dead. Barr’s career, on the other hand, is a different story.