Inside Roseanne’s Triumphant Return to TV

ABC snatched the revival away from Netflix and landed its first No. 1 series in 24 years

Roseanne's March 27 return had 18.2 million viewers. Photographs by Scott Witter for Adweek; Prop styling by Edwin To

It only took a few moments for Disney-ABC’s upfront presentation last Tuesday to morph into a full-blown Roseanne Barr lovefest. With the surprise breakout success of ABC’s Roseanne revival less than two months earlier, the network felt as if it had won the lottery—ending up with the season’s No. 1 entertainment show among adults 18-49 for the first time in 24 years—and took great pleasure in reveling in its unexpected good fortune in front of the assembled buyers at New York’s Lincoln Center. “If anyone came to play a drinking game based on how many times we mention Roseanne, you’re welcome,” said Ben Sherwood, co-chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of Disney-ABC Television Group.

This story first appeared in the May 21, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.
@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.