‘The Conners’ may not last without Roseanne

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Lukewarm critical reviews and low fan expectations are raising questions about the viability of “The Conners,” the “Roseanne” spinoff set to premiere Tuesday night on ABC. The network’s June firing of star Roseanne Barr may make survival tough for one of TV’s most beloved families.

In a TV Insider poll last month, 75 percent of viewers said they would not watch “The Conners” spinoff without Barr, whose namesake sitcom reboot was axed after Barr drew widespread outrage concerning a racist tweet about the physical appearance of former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, a person of color.

Like fans, critics aren’t exactly enthusiastic about the spinoff series, either. After viewing two sample episodes, Deadline Hollywood critic Dominic Patten describes the show as an “adequate offering” that’s “packed with jokes and one-liners you can see coming long before they land and full of scenarios you’ve seen a million times before on the small screen.”

Daniel Fienberg of the Hollywood Reporter writes that “The Conners” is “nothing if not proficient and comfortably in the rhythms of the original show — though rest assured that a certain percentage of right-leaning viewers will rage against Barr’s departure and absence.”

Last year’s “Roseanne” premiere — a continuation of the hit sitcom that ran from 1988 to 1997 — drew 18 million viewers. Barr’s firing, just before the season concluded, was a public-relations nightmare, with ABC Entertainment Group president Channing Dungey describing Barr’s tweet as “abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

 

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