Roseanne will be less political in Season 2, according to ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey, who is also dealing with the fallout from two other shows that have brushed up against political issues of late.
As Yahoo News reports, Dungey spoke this week to The Wrap about the future of the insanely popular revival, and how having an outspoken Trump supporter as its star has created some controversy for the show.
Roseanne and Politics
Never afraid to shy away from complex social or political issues during its original run (1988-1997), when Roseanne was revived and brought back to ABC for a second go-around this year, it was back to politics almost from the first frame. In the very first few scenes of the first episode, it was revealed that Roseanne Conner was a Trump supporter, and that she’d become estranged from her sister, Jackie, over their politics, having not spoken to each other for a year (they patched things up).
There have been other political jokes, too. There was a joke about the ABC comedies Fresh Off The Boat and Black*ish, where Roseanne joked that those families were “just like us.” Then there was the recent episode with a sub-plot about the family making piece with their Muslim neighbors, as well as a controversial bit about illegal immigration.
Corporate cannibals stripping Roseanne of her fun…. https://t.co/SJoYvZWlMb
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) May 15, 2018
Those jokes are well and good, says Dungey, but in Season 2 the focus will move away from politics.
“I think that they’re going to stay on the path that they were on toward the end of last season, which is away from politics and toward family.”
What Does Last Man Standing Have To Do With This?
If an ABC comedy with an outspoken conservative star sounds familiar to you, that’s because the network went through a politics controversy with the Tim Allen comedy, which was canceled earlier this year. Allen is an outspoken conservative, and a few political japes made it to the show. However, ABC nixed the show (Fox picked it up), possibly leaving egg on Dungey’s face in light of Roseanne‘s success.
It’s water under the bridge, says Dungey.
“The decisions that we made last year in terms of canceling ‘Last Man Standing’ were made with the best information that we had at the time.”
She also wishes Tim Allen and the rest of the cast “all the best” on their new home.
OK, So What Does Black*ish Have To Do With This?
Apart from obliquely being the subject of a Roseanne joke, there’s another problem with Black*ish when it comes to ABC and politics — and it’s the opposite problem that Roseanne and Last Man Standing have had. And while the stars of those two shows may have raised some eyebrows with their conservative bent, Black*ish producer Kenya Barris may be too liberal for ABC.
Already an episode dealing with kneeling NFL players has been shelved, due to ABC and Barris failing to see eye to eye. And rumors are now swirling that Barris is looking for a new network.
Without commenting on the possibility of Barris leaving, Dungey made it clear that shelving that particular episode of Black*ish was a mutual decision.
“At the end of the day, this was a mutual decision that was made between Kenya and the network to not put the episode out, and I think we all feel that was the best decision overall.”
On Tuesday nights next season, Roseanne will function as the lead-in to ABC’s new comedy The Kids Are Alright, a show about an Irish-Catholic family set in the 1970s.