ABC upfronts cemented that Roseanne Barr is the face of ABC -- "an imperfect face"
Roseanne Barr was lavished with praise at Tuesday's upfronts. The Roseanne revival, ABC executives said, is the network's first No. 1 show in the key 18-49 demo in 24 years. Yet the upfronts showed that Barr is an "imperfect face" for the network, says Daniel Holloway. He notes that minutes after Barr took the stage, ABC sister network Freeform showed a sizzle reel containing Parkland high school documentary footage of shooting survivor David Hogg, whom Barr once accused of giving the Nazi salute. "With numbers rare to broadcast, ABC can’t be expected to not make Roseanne its hood ornament," says Holloway. "But the content surrounding Roseanne at the upfront laid bare what an odd fit the show is for that role. ABC spent years overtly linking its brand to inclusion with shows like Modern Family, Black-ish, Speechless, Fresh Off the Boat, and How to Get Away With Murder. Roseanne over-indexes in Midwestern states where Donald Trump performed well in 2017 and broadcast TV has struggled to connect with mass audiences. The schedule ABC touted at upfronts was short on similarly designed programs. The only new series it appears to have positioned to play well with Roseanne is Nathan Fillion cop drama The Rookie."
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- John Goodman will be the voice of ABC News' new "Straightforward" campaign
- Roseanne Barr blames anti-Semitism for her ABC ouster
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- ABC shakeup: Entertainment president Channing Dungey is leaving