The 'Roseanne' revival is axed: What you should know

By Brian Stelter and Ivana Kottasová

Published May 30, 2018

Adam Rose/ABC

How does the most popular new TV show in America get canceled in a matter of hours? We just found out. All it takes are a few derogatory tweets by a star, in this case Roseanne Barr, and a few concerned network executives.

Barr is best known for the family sitcom "Roseanne," which aired on ABC from 1988 to 1997. ABC had recently revived the show and benefited from the ratings bonanza that followed.

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In the years after the show's end, Barr publicly and vocally embraced right-wing politics, thrilling fellow American conservatives while irritating people to her left with posts some claimed were anti-Semitic and racist.

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And on Tuesday, May 29, it all came to a head. That's when Barr's bosses at ABC woke up to several tweets from her criticizing ex-Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett, Chelsea Clinton and major liberal donor George Soros.


One of Barr's other tweets -- a racist one equating Jarrett to an ape -- caught fire from outraged Twitter users.

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Around 10:30 a.m. Eastern time, 7:30 a.m. Pacific, Barr tweeted out an apology to Jarrett. She said she was "leaving Twitter." It was too late. Comedian Wanda Sykes, a consulting producer, quit.

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And actress Sara Gilbert, who portrayed one of Barr's onscreen daughters, expressed her own disappointment with Barr's comments.

By 10:48 a.m. Pacific time, as writers and producers arrived to begin to plan season two of the revived show, the news hit: ABC had canceled "Roseanne."

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Barr took to Twitter again, this time to apologize.

She urged fans and supporters not to defend her, and deleted some earlier tweets.

And then, amid a new flurry of retweeted posts defending her, Barr blamed her racist tweet on Ambien, the anti-insomnia drug.

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In the aftermath of the show's cancellation, the national conversation about what Barr did and why she did it continues on.