‘Roseanne’ Turns 29: ABC Sitcom Begins Its Final Act On Anniversary Of Show’s Beginning

Roseanne debuted on ABC on Oct. 18 1988

On Oct. 18, 1988, the ABC sitcom Roseanne made its debut. The pilot episode, titled “Life and Stuff,” introduced viewers to the middle class Conner family: Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Dan (John Goodman), Becky (Lecy Goranson), Darlene (Sara Gilbert) and DJ (Sal Barone, who was subsequently replaced by Michael Fishman after the first episode). Roseanne ran for nine seasons on ABC, signing off in 1997 with a controversial ending that revealed that the entire show had been a depiction of Roseanne Conner’s fictional novel. Oh, and Dan was dead.

Twenty-nine years later, the Roseanne cast has reunited for the first official table read for the show’s long-awaited revival. The Roseanne revival will return to ABC in 2018 with the episode, “Twenty Years to Life,” according to Entertainment Weekly. While most of the original Roseanne stars are pictured in ABC’s newly released table read photo, notably missing is Johnny Galecki, who played Darlene’s longtime love and eventual husband, David Healy, on the original series. ABC is reportedly still in talks with Galecki for the reboot, but the show must go on.

While details are scarce regarding the Roseanne revival (new characters, such as Darlene and David’s kids, have been added and Dan is alive, but no spoilers have been leaked regarding storylines) on the show’s 29th anniversary, fans are celebrating the original series.

While it’s hard to imagine Roseanne with any stars others than the original actors (one notable exception: there were two Beckys, both of which will appear in the revival) from back in the day, producers were eyeing Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin for the part of the Conner son, DJ. But according to Entertainment Weekly, Barr said, “I wanted Michael Fishman because he looked like my family and he was a little Russian boy. He was so not like all the other little Hollywood bast**ds.”

Roseanne was also the first big break for a future movie superstar: George Clooney. Clooney was a regular on the first season of Roseanne, playing factory supervisor and Jackie’s (Laurie Metcalf) love interest, Booker Brooks.

Another famous face during the early seasons of Roseanne? Joss Whedon, who worked as a writer on the show in the early days of his career. The future Buffy and the Vampire Slayer creator told Entertainment Weekly he was just 24-years-old at the time.

“People would say, ‘So you’re writing on Roseanne? I was 24 at the time. ‘Do you write Darlene’s lines?’ I said, ‘Yes, I write Darlene’s lines, I leave a space, then I write a rebuttal.’ They assumed I wrote the young person,” Whedon told EW.

While Roseanne was a huge hit, surprisingly during its nine-season run, the ABC sitcom was never nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Comedy series. Now, maybe this will change as Roseanne gets a second life 30 years after its debut.

Take a look at the opening scene from the Roseanne pilot below.

The eight-episode Roseanne revival will air in spring 2018 on ABC.

[Featured Image by Adam Rose/ABC]