While ABC and most of the cast of Roseanne were hoping to move forward quickly with a reboot of the show, it turns out there may be one giant obstacle — Roseanne herself. According to TMZ, there is a reason things have seemingly stalled and that’s the issue of ownership.
“Sources close to the production tell TMZ… because Roseanne Barr created the show with the original executive producers, she has a financial stake in it and its characters. It’s unclear which specific ones she created, but we’re told the network is doing its due diligence to avoid a lawsuit.” If Barr does have ownership, she could stand in the way of the reboot moving forward unless she’s paid a percentage from the new show. So if the reboot were to be picked up and they have to give a slice of the reboot pie to Barr, it defeats the purpose of canceling the show in the first place for her racist tweet.
That tweet about Valerie Jarrett, the former presidential adviser to Barack Obama, cost Barr her show and cost her co-stars and crew their jobs. Despite feeling bad about what she had done, she reportedly still felt anger at her co-stars for wanting to move on without her, according to what an insider told Radar Online.
“But Roseanne thinks that the spinoff is an absolutely awful idea and she believes that, without her, the show will fail miserably!,” the insider said. The original thought was that the spin-off’s biggest problem would be how to deal with the loss of Barr’s character. While several ideas were floated around social media, including killing her character from an opioid overdose and flashing forward five years to Dan having a new girlfriend, played by former Roseanne writer Wanda Sykes, that part seems to be the least of their worries. The show needs to solve the issue of ownership before any creative issues can even be addressed.
Television shows have managed to go on in the face of losing a main character. In the instance of NBC’s Valerie, which premiered as a vehicle for actress Valerie Harper, creative conflict behind the scenes made things impossible to continue on so Harper left the show. It was renamed The Hogan Family with a new mother figure for the three sons played by Sandy Duncan. There are many ways a Roseanne spin-off can go, just as long as it can do so legally without it lining Roseanne Barr’s pockets.