ABC cancels 'Roseanne' after racist tweets

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner and Brian Ries, CNN
9:28 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018
9:28 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

ABC canceled "Roseanne" today. Here's how it happened.

ABC canceled its hit sitcom "Roseanne" on Tuesday after the show's biggest star, Roseanne Barr, went on a racist Twitter rant.

"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC said.

In one of the tweets, Barr wrote, "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." Barr was responding to a comment about Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama.

Barr had earlier apologized and said she was "now leaving Twitter."

The cancellation comes just months after the show premiered to huge ratings.

7:27 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

Valerie Jarrett on Roseanne Barr's tweet: "We have to turn it into a teaching moment"

Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama, responded today to Roseanne Barr's racist tweet about her.

"We have to turn it into a teaching moment," Jarrett told MSNBC.

"I'm fine. I'm worried about all the people out there who don't have a circle of friends and followers who come right to their defense."

ABC canceled its hit sitcom "Roseanne" today after Barr went on a racist Twitter rant. In one of the tweets, Barr wrote, "Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj." Barr was responding to a comment about Jarrett.

Barr claimed she was joking, but then she deleted the tweet and issued an apology to Jarrett and "all Americans."

5:21 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

White House not commenting on "Roseanne" cancellation

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly declined to comment on the cancellation of “Roseanne” and its star's racist tweets.

“The President has been extremely focused, as I just walked through the things going on with the upcoming summit," she told reporters aboard Air Force One.

"He’s focused on North Korea. He’s focused on trade deals. He’s focused on rebuilding our military, the economy and that’s what he’s spending his time on not responding to other things."

Pressed again given the President’s previous comments on the show, Sanders said, “Again, the President spent his day focused with things going on this morning.”

She continued, “That’s not what the President is looking at. That’s not what he’s spending his time on and we have a lot of bigger things going on in the country right now."

4:33 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

CNN's Brian Stelter: ABC couldn't have "Roseanne" without Roseanne Barr

ABC's decision to cancel "Roseanne" came quickly today, CNN's Brian Stelter reports, since it was impossible to keep the show without its title character.

"Right away, Disney and ABC executives agreed they had to pull the plug from this show," Stelter said.

"There's no way to have 'Roseanne' on TV without actually having Roseanne Barr. And there was no way to keep her on the show given these racist and anti-Semitic messages."

4:10 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

Roseanne's on-screen granddaughter: "Bullies will NEVER win"

Actress Emma Kenney (left) just tweeted about the show's cancellation.

Emma Kenny, who played the granddaughter of Roseanne Barr's character, says she was in the process of quitting "Roseanne" when she learned the show had been canceled.

She said she feels empowered by Wanda Sykes, who announced she quit the show just before news of the cancellation broke.

"Bullies will NEVER win," Kenny tweeted.

3:35 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

The first run of "Roseanne" was filled with controversy, too

From CNN's Brian Lowery

Roseanne Barr is no stranger to controversy, and her prior association with ABC was punctuated by tumult, including an all-but-legendary level of turnover among those who were charged with overseeing her series.

Famously, one of the early producers, Jeff Harris, took out a full-page ad in Variety when he left the show, saying that he had decided to take a vacation "in the relative peace and quiet of Beirut."

At another point, Barr issued numbered jerseys to the writing staff, which some took as a message about how disposable they were perceived to be.

There were also several high-profile clashes between the star and the network. During contract negotiations in 1993, she went on "The Tonight Show" and publicly threatened to take the show to a rival broadcaster.

3:04 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

How celebrities are reacting to "Roseanne" being canceled

Hollywood celebrities took to Twitter following the decision by ABC to cancel "Roseanne" over its star's racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, a top former aide to President Obama.

Here's what they are saying:

2:33 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

The ratings for the "Roseanne" reboot were huge

From CNN's Frank Pallotta and Brian Stelter

Back after a 21-year hiatus, the "Roseanne" reboot notched 25 million viewers total when it first premiered earlier this year, according to Nielsen's TV ratings.

The high ratings accounted for three days of time-shifted viewing -- that is, people watching on DVRs and on demand.

The first episodes of the series brought in TV's highest ratings in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 demographic for any comedy telecast since 2014. 

They also topped the show's original finale 21 years ago by 10% in total viewers, a remarkable accomplishment at a time when ratings across TV have fallen precipitously.

Ratings slipped in the second week of episodes of the reboot, with an average of 15.2 million people tuning in.

2:18 p.m. ET, May 29, 2018

Disney CEO: "There was only one thing to do here"

Robert Iger, the chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, called Roseanne Barr's tweets "abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values."

"There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing," he tweeted.

Disney owns ABC.