The Conners will be back, but will D.J. and his wife Geena remain in Lanford? While the Roseanne spinoff has been given the green light for a second season on ABC, the full cast list has not yet been announced. And now it appears that at least one full-time star from the show’s first season is headed to a rival network.
Maya Lynne Robinson, who plays D.J. Conner’s (Michael Fishman) wife on The Conners, is now set as a series regular on the upcoming CBS single-camera comedy, The Unicorn. Robinson and Omar Benson Miller will play married couple Ben and Michelle on the new series, Deadline reports. Robinson’s character is described as a “super laid-back mother of four kids” who tend to have to fend for themselves — which sounds like the opposite of her militant Conners character, Geena.
The announcement of Robinson’s new CBS show has some fans wondering about her status on The Conners. Last week, Deadline reported that John Goodman (Dan), Sara Gilbert (Darlene), Lecy Goranson (Becky), Laurie Metcalf (Jackie) and Ames McNamara (Darlene’s son, Mark) will all be back as full-time cast members for the 13-episode second season of The Conners. But Season 1 regulars Robinson, Fishman, Emma Kenney (Harris), and Jayden Rey (D.J. and Geena’s daughter, Mary) have not yet scored Season 2 deals yet.
There was some confusion about the Geena Conner character from the beginning. Before the Roseanne reboot was canceled by ABC, executive producer Bruce Helford told The Hollywood Reporter that D.J. Conner’s wife would be introduced when she called her family while stationed overseas in Afghanistan. At the time, Helford told THR producers hoped to bring D.J.’s wife home for good.
“You’re going to meet D.J.’s wife in an episode coming up this season via Skype from Afghanistan. We hope to bring her into the fold and bring her home, if not permanently, at least for a break to visit the family and see the interaction of D.J.’s wife and daughter and Roseanne as well as D.J.’s family with his wife’s family,” Helford said last year.
When Geena was first introduced on the Roseanne revival, she was played by Mindy Project vet Xosha Roquemore. But last September, TVLine reported that Roquemore would not be returning for The Conners spinoff. Instead, newcomer Maya Lynne Robinson was recast in the role and was named a series regular.
Longtime fans first met the Geena character in the 1994 Roseanne episode “White Men Can’t Kiss.” In the classic episode, D.J. Conner refused to kiss Geena in the school play because she was black. The episode was praised for its handling of racism.
The Conners returns to ABC later this year.