ABC to Pull Back From Pro-Trump Humor in Second Season of Roseanne

FILE - In this image released by ABC, Roseanne Barr, left, and John Goodman appear in a scene from the reboot of "Roseanne," premiering on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST. For the reboot, Roseanne will be at odds with her sister Jackie, played by Laurie Metcalf, over President Donald Trump. Barr said she thought it was important to show how the Conner family deals with the same issues many American families are facing. (Adam Rose/ABC via AP, File)

The reboot of the successful 1990s show “Roseanne” found a huge audience when it debuted as a mid-season replacement in March 2018.

A huge portion of the show’s renewed popularity centers around the titular character, a vocal Trump supporter. In recent episodes, the much-loved loudmouth and domestic goddess frequently addresses Left-leaning pop culture and political issues.


This new formula worked, as made evident by the astronomical ratings. The first episode of season 10 garnered a whopping 27.26 million total viewers when adding delayed views to the already high 18.45 million captured in live and same day viewing.

Audience members on the Right, especially fans of the president, were thrilled to see themselves portrayed in popular entertainment. But according to executives, that representation is about to change.

FOX News reports:

ABC’s “Roseanne” is one of the few popular television programs to feature a pro-Trump character, but conservatives shouldn’t get used to seeing similar ideology on the sitcom for much longer.

ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey put the kibosh on “Roseanne” remaining political in the second season – apparently ditching the strategy the network touted only two months ago.

“I think that they’re going to stay on the path that they were on toward the end of last season, which is away from politics and toward family,” Dungey said during the network’s upfront presentation after the call, according to TheWrap.

Entertainment is wildly lopsided when it comes to political ideologies, so it’s not exactly surprising that liberal executives would ultimately decide to dial back on the pro-Trump slant. Just how this decision affects ratings remains to be seen.


When the revival debuted in March, many individuals on the Right felt that this indicated a shift in entertainment industry thinking, at least on a small scale. While the pro-Trump quips may all but disappear, it seems ABC is keen on keeping the everyday American – “heartland” – aspect of the show.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘There’s a lot about this country we need to learn a lot more about, here on the coasts,’” Sherwood told the Times in a feature headline, “‘Roseanne’ Reboot Sprang From ABC’s Heartland Strategy After Trump’s Victory.”

An ABC spokesperson said the network is “definitely not” ditching the heartland strategy when reached by Fox News.

In a sharply divided America, actually focusing on flyover country may be a bit difficult.

Asked if Roseanne’s success will affect programming decisions made going forward, Dungey responded that ABC always strives for a schedule as “diverse and inclusive as possible” in various metrics, including race, gender, religion “and also economic perspective.”

Just exactly what “diverse” and “inclusive” turn out to be in the second season of the reboot (and tenth overall) is anyone’s guess. As of right now, the new direction means less of the pro-Trump dialogue and more of the neutral variety.


While representing all members of your audience isn’t a bad thing, rejecting that which pulled many of them to your show in the first place could result in a decline in coveted ratings.

In 2018, nearly everything is polarizing.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.


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