A mere week has passed since all the drama that got Roseanne canceled, and insiders are already expecting a spin-off to be announced any day now.
The series, starring Roseanne Barr and focusing on the working class Conner family, originally aired from 1988 until 1997 and left a strong impression on the modern sitcom. It was revived this year for a nine-episode season, which saw nearly all of the major actors return to their previous roles; the show turned out to be massively successful, and ABC was already promoting another season to advertisers as the centerpiece of their Fall schedule.
Unfortunately for fans, Barr has been subject to controversy for her outspoken political opinions. Last week, she released a late night tweet during which she said that Valerie Jarrett was like if “Muslim Brotherhood and Planet of the Apes had a baby.” (Jarrett, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, is African-American and was born in Iran.) As a result, the new season of the show was canceled pretty much instantly.
Almost immediately, however, some began to wonder if the show could be done without Barr’s involvement, either by recasting her part (an unlikely occurrence, as the character is based on and even named after her), killing her off or doing a spin-off. Since then, word has come in that ABC was at least considering the latter, most likely about the character of Darlene, played by Sara Gilbert.
In the show, Darlene is Roseanne’s second daughter. Originally a tomboy who grew up into a snarky intellectual, the revival season sees her as a single mother forced to move back home with her parents due to financial problems. She is one of the few characters who can really stand up to family’s abrasive matriarch, and with the most developed family she probably has the most potential to carry her own series.
According to The Telegraph, a Darlene-centric series would presumably include the character’s own teenage daughter, Harris (Emma Kenney), and son Mark (Ames McNamara), along with her ex, David (Johnny Galecki). Other than Roseanne, guest stars could include other members of the Conner family, like her father, Dan (John Goodman), siblings Becky (Sarah Goranson) and D.J. (Michael Fishman), aunt Jackie (Laurie Metcalf) and niece, Mary (Jayden Rey).
Interestingly, Gilbert, Goodman and Metcalf are apparently guaranteed payment for the now-canceled season, amounting to about $300,000 per episode.