"Roseanne," one of TV's rare working-class comedies, will return to ABC two decades after it wrapped its hit run and with star Roseanne Barr and the rest of the cast intact, the network said Tuesday in announcing its 2017-18 season plans.
"The Conners' joys and struggles are as relevant — and hilarious — today as they were then, and there's really no one better to comment on our modern America than Roseanne," ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a statement. The original series wrapped its nine-season run in 1997.
Besides Barr as the Conner family matriarch, the eight-episode reboot airing in 2018 will feature John Goodman as her husband, Dan, along with former co-stars Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman and Lecy Goranson. Sarah Chalke, who played Goranson's character, Becky, in later seasons, will appear in another role, ABC said.
ABC is bringing eight new shows to its schedule next fall and moving several returning series around, including hit comedy "black-ish." The series that had been paired with "Modern Family" on Wednesday is strong enough to shift to 9 p.m. Eastern Tuesday to help launch a new comedy, "The Mayor," Dungey said. The freshman show stars Brandon Micheal Hall as a young rapper who unexpectedly wins a mayoral election in his California hometown.
Another new comedy, "Alex Inc.," is set for the 2017-18 season but with a debut date yet to be announced. Zach Braff stars as a radio journalist and family man who decides to turn entrepreneur.
Less lucky is "Last Man Standing," the Tim Allen comedy that won't return next season. The show's ratings were modest but steady, but its fate was sealed when the network decided to discontinue its Friday night comedies, Dungey said in a teleconference Tuesday. The cancellation spurred an online petition on change.org protesting the move and extolling the show's "conservative values."
ABC's lineup next season will be heavy on high-concept dramas and include one familiar reality series, "American Idol," which the network called a "perfect fit" despite the lagging ratings and high costs that brought it to an end at Fox.
Dungey defended the network's decision to air the singing contest in 2018, one day after Fox executives said they passed on a quick reboot as "extremely fraudulent" in light of the big farewell it got just a year ago.
"From where we sit" it feels like the perfect addition, Dungey said. The contest offers "heartfelt stories about people who make dreams come true, and that's our sweet spot at ABC."
Dungey said the show will have a "very clear ABC hallmark" with production details still under discussion, including when it will debut in midseason and whether Ryan Seacrest will return as host. He recently joined ABC as Kelly Ripa's co-host on the daytime talk show "Live."
Three new dramas are set for a fall debut: "The Good Doctor," starring Freddie Highmore as a young physician with autism and savant syndrome; "The Gospel of Kevin," about a troubled man (Jason Ritter) who's instructed by a celestial being to save the world, and "Marvel's Inhumans." The comic-book based series will explore the story of Black Bolt, king of the inhumans (Anson Mount), and his royal family splintered by a military coup.
Another drama set for a fall debut is "Ten Days in the Valley, starring Kyra Sedgwick as an overworked TV producer of a police show whose daughter disappears in the middle of the night.
ABC also said it's expanding its business with Shonda Rhimes. The latest series from the "Grey's Anatomy" producer is "For the People," a drama set in a U.S. District Court and coming in midseason. Rhimes produces "How to Get Away with Murder and "Scandal" for ABC, with the latter returning for its seventh and final season.
Rhimes said it was time to bring the series starring Kerry Washington to an end, Dungey said, predicting fans would be pleased with how it wraps.