Twenty years ago, 16 million Americans gathered in their living rooms to watch the bizarre end to the ABC sitcom “Roseanne.”
In that final episode, we learned that Dan Conner, Roseanne Barr’s TV husband played by John Goodman, had died of a heart attack. Now, the entire Conner family — including Dan — are coming back to network TV.
‘Roseanne’ and ‘Will & Grace’ coming back to free TV
“Roseanne” is one of several hit shows from the past that will resurface this upcoming season. Traditional TV is trying to win back viewers who’ve abandoned the regular channels in favor of cable or streaming services.
Network TV executives are hoping that rebooted comedies like “Roseanne” will quench America’s thirst for nostalgia.
“When it premiered on ABC, the series broke new ground for its realistic portrayal of a working-class family, the Conners, barely scraping by in the fictional town of Lanford, Illinois,” ABC said in a statement. “Lauded for its humor, relevance, warmth and honesty, the Conner family will continue to deal with the economic challenges of living pay check to pay check in 2018.”
Meanwhile, NBC’s revival of “Will and Grace” has already been renewed for a second season, even though season one doesn’t premiere until September 28. It will feature the original cast of Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.
Over at CBS, ex-Scientologist Leah Remini is reuniting with her former TV husband Kevin James on his comedy “Kevin Can Wait.” The two previously starred in “The King of Queens” from 1998-2007.
There is some risk with these reboots. The original shows were huge hits, but the TV landscape has changed and networks are increasingly relying on reality programming that can be much cheaper to produce than a scripted series.
At least Netflix is giving ABC, CBS and NBC reason to be optimistic. “Fuller House,” the remake of the ‘90s series “Full House,” returns for a third season on the streaming service in September.