Recasting Roseanne

Weekend Roundtable: ‘Roseanne’ without Roseanne

Roseanne Barr committed career suicide by Twitter this week, and ABC very rapidly announced an immediate cancelation for the revival of her self-titled sitcom, which had been a ratings smash this year. Already, however, there has been talk of continuing the show without Barr. Should that happen, which other disgraced celebrity with a troubled personal history could replace her?

Our expectation here is that the network would hire someone to play a new character, removing Roseanne from the Conner family. However, if you’d prefer to straight-up recast the role, go ahead and make a case for it.

Shannon Nutt

Dan has divorced Roseanne, but he can’t take care of the family alone. Enter former disgraced President of the United States Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), who is also looking to put his life back together. Dan agrees to let Frank stay with the family in an effort to stay out of the spotlight, so long as he agrees to help out around the house. It isn’t long before Frank gives into his inner demons and attempts to control the entire family.

ABC would of course rename the series ‘House of Conners’.

M. Enois Duarte

Although I personally don’t watch the show and was never a fan during its original run, I don’t think ABC should cancel the family comedy series quite yet. I feel this is an opportunity to replace the controversial comedian with someone equally as controversial and offensive. I say that the world has had plenty of time to heal from the awful ugliness that is Paula Deen. Given that she’s back in the news again, I think it’s time for the celebrity chef to make her triumphant return to television. In order to save the thousands of jobs now lost, don’t cancel the show. Instead, replace Roseanne Barr with someone as equally insulting and embarrassing.

Adam Tyner (DVDTalk)

If you’re going to recast a role as iconic as Roseanne’s, it should be with someone with some real Middle America authenticity. It should be with someone who’s navigated life in a large and difficult family. It should be with someone who, rather than breathe in that rarified Hollywood air, knows what it’s like to struggle financially and battle one’s own demons – someone whose idea of a nice evening out is shooters at Buffalo Wild Wings. If I had to recast Roseanne, there’s no better choice than America’s sweetheart, Jon Gosselin.

Jon Goselin on Roseanne

Josh Zyber

ABC has a few different directions it could go with this. Regardless of which is chosen, the show should follow the model of NBC’s ‘Valerie’, which was renamed first ‘Valerie’s Family’ and then ‘The Hogan Family’ after star Valerie Harper was ousted in a contract dispute. As such, it should be ‘Roseanne’s Family’ for one season and then ‘The Conner Family’ thereafter, switching networks to CBS in its final season. Sandy Duncan is still alive, but (as far as I know) doesn’t have any juicy scandals in her past, so she’ll sadly be ineligible to step in as Roseanne’s never-before-mentioned estranged sister.

If the network wants to substitute one problematic racist for another, the obvious answer would be to bring in Mel Gibson as a distant cousin who moves to Lanford after Roseanne’s tragic death. Unfortunately, I doubt Gibson wants to do television.

Charlie Sheen has spent a lot of time on sitcoms, though. He even has experience stepping in to take over a show after the departure of its star, as he did with ‘Spin City’. He’s just as crazy, if not crazier than Roseanne, and a case could be made that he’s a good fit in that regard. The problem is that he’s very unstable and another major public meltdown seems like an inevitability.

Perhaps the best option would be Brett Butler, whose sitcom ‘Grace Under Fire’ was obviously cut from the ‘Roseanne’ mold and even ran back-to-back with it for a while. It had a very similar blue collar, middle America sensibility. Butler’s show and career eventually flamed out due to drug abuse and “erratic behavior,” and she was reportedly even homeless for a time. However, she had a small comeback a few years ago with a recurring role on Charlie Sheen’s ‘Anger Management’ sitcom. She’d be as good a choice to slot into ‘The Conner Family’ as anybody.

Your Turn

Would you rather see Lindsay Lohan take over ‘Roseanne’? How about Kanye West? Give us some of your picks in the Comments.


  1. njscorpio

    I think that all roles vacated by actors who are fired due to their behavior should automatically be filled by Christopher Plummer. Even if it is just for a one hour special, he should play Roseanne, as the family gets ready for her/his mission to Mars, after which we will never see the character again.

  2. Csm101

    Change the show’s name to ‘Rosie’ and cast Rosie O’Donnell. If she’s not available, Andy Dick.

  3. Charles Contreras

    All I know is I’m still mentally scarred after Roseanne’s rendition of the National Anthem.

  4. EM

    With Dan dating again while still looking after his children and grandchildren, what better housemate and role model than legendary sitcom icon, superdad, and ladies’ man Dr. Cliff Huxtable (Bill Cosby)?

  5. photogdave

    After Roseanne dies in a tragic binge-eating accident, who shows up at her funeral but long-lost brother Michael Richards!
    With no home of his own or children that he knows of, he cons the Conners into letting him move in to help with the domestic duties and the continued racist education of the young ‘ens.

  6. GED

    Roseanne was always my favorite show, but she should now be banned and shunned by the whole USA. She is a racist pot head. Its a shame for all the other cast, I think most of the world would like to see a Darlene spin off or a Conners spin off. ABC did the right thing by cancelling the show, as well as CMT, PAR (Paramount Network), and Free (Freeform). I hope as USA citizens we can send a message United Against Barr.
    If the Season 11 goes on it would be nice as long as Roseanne does not get anything for it. If we find out she benefits in any way from Season 11, we the fans will probably boycott it.

  7. We see the Conner family in a prison, there to witness Roseanne’s execution after she’s murdered Mark. While there, Dan strikes up a conversation with the prison’s janitor/mechanic, played by Joe Rogan. Rogan takes Dan out to a bar where we meet Stephen Root and Dave Foley. From there, they go to a struggling radio station in Lanford and find Andy Dick and Maura Tierney in an argument. Dan leaves, but the camera stays at the radio station…welcome back, Newsradio!

  8. William Henley

    I’ve never really cared for the show, but while I am shocked by Roseanne’s tweet, I am not surprised – she was pretty much known for being insulting and offensive. It was why people loved her. I am surprised ABC took a chance with her the first time, and took a chance with her now.

    That said, I think pulling her from the show was a stupid move on ABC’s part – BECAUSE of that, I am sure her ratings would have skyrocketed. Shoot, if it was on the FOX Network, or Comedy Central, the network would have worn it like a badge of honor.

    If you are going to feature someone on a show whose whole stick is to be offensive and push the envelope, you shouldn’t be offended when they are offensive.

    In any case, i didn’t care for the original show or the comeback, and while the actors may be able to carry the show, I doubt they can based on how the characters have been written. The show focused around Roseanne, and the rest of the cast pretty much played off of her. I just don’t see the show working without her.

    I say just keep her, renegotiate contracts and throw the show on Netflix and see how people respond.

    • Josh Zyber

      Her comments weren’t just provocative or envelope-pushing, William. They were straight-up racist. No corporation will want their brand associated with that.

      • William Henley

        Granted – I’ve seen them. But, as I said, I am not surprised – that is the kind of stuff she does

        • William Henley

          Should point out that I am not saying they are right – I am saying I am not surprised and that is her act. What makes it funny when you offend one group of people, but offensive when you offend another?

      • Chris B

        Apparently the story she’s telling her comedian friends is she didn’t even know Valerie Jarrett was black, She just made the “apes” joke because of her haircut resembling some of the characters in the film. Who knows if it’s true or not. At any rate, don’t drink, take Ambien and tweet when you’re all messed up because you’ll end up ruining your career most likely.

        AS for the show, they should keep it going without her. Kill Rosanne’s character off off due to a painkiller addiction that was brought to light in the season finale and have Dan grieve and then start dating a new woman played by Wanda Sykes. Boom! Poetic justice!. I just feel like so many people’s careers and livelihoods shouldn’t because of one persons’ regrettable actions. I wish Netflix would pick it up and carry on without her.

  9. I went exactly where Josh did. Brett Butler was my first thought. Seems like she could easily be a Connor.

    Maybe do it like Hogan Family as noted. Magical sibling who somehow was never mentioned.

    I think Josh and I are kindred spirits on random TV sitcom obscurity musings.

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