There have been rumblings that The Conners, the spin-off to the canceled Roseanne, wouldn’t be back for a second season due to falling ratings and the high salaries paid to cast members like John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and Sara Gilbert. But now, according to Laurie (who plays Jackie), Season 2 is looking like it’s happening.
“I believe it’s going to happen,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “I think we’ll do between 10 and 13 [episodes], something like that.”
The tone, she added, is expected to remain pretty much the same, though she likes the fact that she doesn’t really know what’s coming up — which has been the case all season. “I don’t get the scripts until the Friday after we do a taping and then I get to read what we’ll be doing starting next Monday… I just think the writers did a wonderful job of keeping the tone and telling stories about the characters people have grown up with.”
This follows another report from TV Line, which said that talks were underway between ABC and the extensive cast. Explains that site’s Michael Ausiello, “Following a long summer that included Roseanne’s abrupt cancellation, assorted Roseanne Barr explanations/apologies, cast reactions, and industry speculation, The Conners debuted in October to 10.6 million total viewers and a 2.4 demo rating, down just a hair from where the Roseanne revival left off with its May finale (which did 10.6 million and a 2.5 rating). After several weeks of declines, the show’s numbers appear to have leveled off at a still-strong-by-broadcast-standards 1.4 demo rating (in live viewing).”
What really bodes well for the show’s return is when you compare it to revivals of other TV shows that have aired this season, it’s demo is about twice as high. The other shows are NBC’s Will & Grace (currently in its second season of new episodes, with a third already guaranteed by the network) and CBS’ Murphy Brown (which is not expected to return, despite the fact that its ratings are higher than those of Will & Grace).
The fact that The Conners has been as successful as it is, is impressive considering that it was attempting to do the seemingly impossible: continue the series without the woman who had been at the center of the show it came from, Roseanne. The writers and actors (for the most part, there isn’t a weak performer among them), though, have really come through (despite an annoying over-reliance on a laugh track in some episodes, which the show clearly does not need). And while the show still touches on the death of lead character Roseanne Conner, it has successfully moved beyond that, allowing each of the characters to grow on their own and with each other.
The Conners first season finale will air on Jan. 22.