Her boss, Disney CEO Robert Iger, backed her up, tweeting: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

Whatever the decision, it was sudden—and it’s not clear yet if other factors played a role in the cancelation. Certainly, the show’s right-of-center politics attracted outsized attention, but ABC not only knew this, but seemed to embrace it, calling the show “fresh and relevant.” Sara Gilbert, Barr’s co-star and co-producer, lamented the decision:

It’s also unclear if other alternatives to cancelation were explored, and if any consideration was given to simply firing Barr. Television shows have survived the loss of  their stars before—the continuation of Eight Simple Rules after the death of John Ritter is a notable example—albeit probably none were as closely tied to the identity of its lead as Roseanne is to Barr. Given the speed with which ABC reacted, it seems unlikely that those conversations, if even considered, advanced far.

The decision to cancel the show instead seems instinctual, a reflexive reaction to purge a poisonous element from the body of ABC. It’s a shame they didn’t try to make the show without Barr, because a lot of people would still be working, and because watching Roseanne succeed without her might have been an even harsher punishment for Barr.

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