Roseanne’s Cancellation: What Really Went Down At ABC, Disney Offices The Day She Was Fired

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ABC executives reportedly congratulated themselves over how quickly they canceled Roseanne, this according to a couple of insiders who gave a behind-the-scenes account of what went down behind closed doors at ABC on Tuesday.

As CNN reports, anonymous sources say that Roseanne Barr’s tweets had been “a problem” for ABC a handful of times in the past, perhaps suggesting that Tuesday’s tweets, one of which compared an African American woman to an ape, were merely the last straw.

“Enough was enough.”

Here’s a rough timeline of events that led to Roseanne’s cancellation.

By 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time, Barr had already tweeted about Valerie Jarrett, Chelsea Clinton, and George Soros. Also by 7:00 a.m., Chelsea Clinton herself had responded to Barr’s tweet about her suggesting that she was in some way connected to billionaire George Soros.

This all happened before 4:00 a.m. Pacific Time – that is, long before ABC executives at company headquarters in Burbank, California, had even gotten out of bed.

By 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time, they were talking to each other by phone, according to the sources.

At some point between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time (10:00 a.m. and noon Eastern Time), ABC and Disney executives, including ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey; Ben Sherwood, the president of the Disney/ABC Television Group; and Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney; had arranged a conference call with Barr. Barr was “contrite” during the call, according to sources.

The headquarters of the Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC, in Burbank, California.Featured image credit: Reed SaxonAP Images

According to sources, the cancellation of Roseanne didn’t come out of the blue: her bosses told her during the initial phone call that it was possible that her show would be canceled.

And indeed, it was canceled. Shortly before 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time, ABC had announced that Roseanne was no more. Barr herself was notified by phone; the rest of her castmates, as well as the behind-the-scenes people on the show, found out the way the rest of the world did, by hearing about it on the news (specifically, by reading ABC’s statement on the cancellation). In fact, according to The New York Times, Tuesday was to be the day that writers of the show were to come back to work to start penning Season 2.

As it turns out, the difference in time zones didn’t play into ABC and Disney’s favor. That’s because the saga of Roseanne’s tweets had largely played out on Twitter before the big bosses at the network were even out of bed. Meanwhile, by the time the company announced the show’s cancellation, the day was half over in New York – and indeed, three quarters of the country had had much of the day to excoriate both Roseanne and ABC over her tweets.