Entertainment & Arts

Roseanne objects to manner of character's spin-off exit

Spoiler warning: This story reveals plot details about the series premiere of The Conners.

The cast of The Conners Image copyright ABC
Image caption John Goodman (centre) with the cast of the new spin-off show

Roseanne Barr has objected to the way her character has been written out of The Conners, a spin-off show to her cancelled self-titled sitcom.

Picking up three weeks after Roseanne's sudden death, the show's first episode reveals the family matriarch died from an accidental opioid overdose.

In a statement, Barr said this "lent an unnecessary, grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show."

ABC cancelled Barr's sitcom in May after she posted an offensive tweet.

The US network subsequently ordered a spin-off starring the show's other cast members.

The first episode of The Conners aired in the US on Tuesday.

In a statement co-written by her "longtime Rabbi and friend" Shmuley Boteach, Barr said "killing off the Roseanne Conner character" was "a choice the network did not have to make."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Roseanne said her tweet had been "a regrettable mistake"

"After repeated and heartfelt apologies, the network was unwilling to look past a regrettable mistake, thereby denying the twin American values of both repentance and forgiveness," she continued.

The cancellation of Roseanne, she went on, was "an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive."

ABC axed Barr's show after she posted a tweet likening Valerie Jarrett - a former aide to President Obama and an African-American - to an ape.

Fans of the original show have also expressed dismay at how the character has been written out, with some calling it "tacky" and "dark".

Yet others were more receptive to the new show, which will run to 10 episodes.

This is not the first time a hit TV show has carried on without one of its main stars.

In the 1970s, Farrah Fawcett left Charlie's Angels after one season to pursue a film career. Years later she revealed she had left the show over disagreements on the direction of her character.

Shelley Long left her role as Cheers' barmaid Diane in 1987, while the US version of The Office ran for two more years after Steve Carell departed in 2011.

More recently Netflix decided to kill off Kevin Spacey's character in political drama House of Cards and make its sixth and final season without him.

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