ABC Cancels Roseanne After The Star’s Twitter Rant

A weekend Twitter rant by Roseanne Barr caused ABC to cancel her top-rated program. The star made front-page news by her racist tweets that left the Disney owned network with little choice but cut the popular comedy reboot from their fall line-up.

The decision to cut ties with Roseanne, the network’s No. 1 show, and TV’s most-watched comedy in the 18-49 demo, came after Barr attacked former Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett on Twitter, comparing her to the movie Planet of the Apes and the Islamist organization Muslim Brotherhood.

In the since-deleted tweet, Barr said of Jarrett, “Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

In a statement released to the press, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey announced Tuesday: “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger added on Twitter that “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

The cancellation was a shock to everyone in the television business. The revival of “Roseanne” premiered to huge ratings just three months ago and despite some controversy, the show was making the network big money because of the programs high ratings.

Pre-production was already underway on the second season, which was scheduled for Tuesdays at 8 p.m. this fall.

Sara Gilbert, who was along with Barr co-executive producer of Roseanne was also quick to condemn her longtime friend. She was quoted on the Los Angeles Times website.
Gilbert who is both a producer and co-hosts CBS talk-show “The Talk,” Tuesday shortly spoke about the issue after consulting producer Wanda Sykes announced her departure from her role on Roseanne.

Gilbert also called Barr’s comments “abhorrent.”

“Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show,” she wrote. “I am disappointed in her actions, to say the least.” Gilbert added that the situation is “incredibly sad and difficult for all of us.”

“We’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love — one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member,” Gilbert added.

There were both concerns and hope in the advertising community about if the show was a good investment.  In last week’s Adweek cover story about the show, ad buyers mentioned that Barr’s sometimes-controversial statements in public appearances and on social media were perhaps the only thing that could derail the show’s continued success.

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.