We’ll say this much for Roseanne Barr: She sure has gotten a lot of press for ABC’s revival of her eponymous sitcom. Whether that’s a good thing or a “stay up all night with severe heartburn” thing, however, depends on whether you believe that all press is good press.
At first, the real Roseanne’s turn towards right-wing politics, reflected in the sitcom Roseanne’s support of Donald Trump, seemed almost like a bonus for the show, which debuted to huge ratings and an immediate renewal. But over the course of the new season, as ratings began to fall and criticism of the show’s more political content—in particular, a joke many interpreted as a jab at ABC’s black and Asian-led family sitcoms Black-ish and Fresh Off The Boat—mounted, it seems ABC has begun to question whether reining in the politics (or, at the very least, confining them to Roseanne’s Twitter) might be a good long-term strategy.
Thus, on a conference call in advance of ABC’s upfronts presentation later this afternoon, entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters that Roseanne (the sitcom) will slowly back away from politics in its second season. “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,” she said. She added that she was “surprised at the reaction” to the aforementioned joke referencing Black-ish and Fresh Off The Boat: “We thought the writers were tipping their hat,” she said.