Roseanne’s cancellation may have come as a surprise to advertisers who just two weeks ago attended ABC’s upfronts presentation, where executives made jokes about the star’s tweets in their attempt to sell ads for the network’s upcoming season.
Roseanne Barr kicked off the event, introducing Disney-ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood to the audience of prospective ad buyers as ‘the guy responsible for most of my tweets,’ according to video of the event recorded by ThinkProgress.
When Sherwood came to the stage, he riled the crowd up, asking them to give another round of applause to Barr – a ‘woman who has always done it her way’.
Just two weeks ago, Disney-ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood (right) joked about Roseanne’s (left) tweets at their annual pitch to advertisers
Roseanne introduced Sherwood at the presentation, and when he came out onto the stage, they joked about her tweets, flashing a fake one about how Sherwood looks like a ‘more handsome and rugged Ben Affleck’ on the screen
He then went on to make a joke about Barr’s Twitter addiction.
‘For the record, I have absolutely nothing to do with Roseanne’s Twitter account, I mean take a look at her most recent tweet. It was all her,’ he said.
A fake tweet then flashed up on the screen behind him, which showed Roseanne complimenting Sherwood as being ‘a more handsome and rugged Ben Affleck with a better back tattoo’.
Sherwood then launched into his pitch, in which he boasted about Roseanne being the number one new comedy and overall show on TV.
According to AdWeek, the presentation went on to become a ‘full-blown Roseanne lovefest’.
‘If anyone came to play a drinking game based on how many times we mention Roseanne, you’re welcome,’ Sherwood told advertisers at one point.
In a previous interview with the New York Times, Sherwood, when asked about her controversial Twitter account, said: ‘You can’t control Roseanne Barr. Many who have tried have failed.’
On Tuesday, just two weeks after the presentation, Roseanne was booted from the network over a tweet in which she said former President Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett looks like a cross between the ‘muslim brotherhood & Planet of the Apes’.
Within hours, the network cancelled the show with a blistering statement from ABC Entertainment Group President Channing Dungey, calling Barr’s remarks ‘abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values’.
Sherwood was the executive to write the internal memo to staffers about Barr’s dismissal.
Of the decision to cancel the show, Sherwood wrote that ‘it came down to doing what’s right and upholding our values of inclusion, tolerance, and civility’.
BEN SHERWOOD’S INTERNAL MEMO TO ABC STAFFERS ABOUT ROSEANNE’S CANCELLATION
Much has been said and written about yesterday’s decision to cancel the Roseanne show. In the end, it came down to doing what’s right and upholding our values of inclusion, tolerance, and civility.
Not enough, however, has been said about the many men and women who poured their hearts and lives into the show and were just getting started on next season. We’re so sorry they were swept up in all of this and we give thanks for their remarkable talents, wish them well, and hope to find another way to work together down the road.
The last 24 hours have also been a powerful reminder of the importance of words in everything we do – online and on the air. And the responsibility of using social media – and all of our programs and platforms – with careful thought, decency and consideration.
Today we move forward, together, full speed.
With the show’s cancellation, the network now may have a problem locking down advertisers for their upcoming season, since there’s a new hole in their schedule.
It also could cause a financial hit to the network, which generated about $22.8million in advertising revenue from the show this season, and was looking to double that for the second season due to its high ratings.
Barr herself appears to be having trouble processing her swift firing from the network.
The actress returned to Twitter overnight and started lashing out at her co-stars for ‘throwing her under the bus’.
Michael Fishman, who played D.J. Conner on the show and started working with Barr when he was just six, was the first to feel the wrath of the show’s creator after he released a statement criticizing her racist tweet.
‘I condemn these statements vehemently,’ wrote Fishman, who is the father of a black daughter in the reboot.
‘They are reprehensible and intolerable, contradicting my beliefs and outlook on life and society. I have always lived and taught my children to be inclusive. I believe our show strived to embrace different backgrounds and opinions, through open dialogue.’
Barr was none too happy with that statement and fired back on Twitter. ‘I created the platform for that inclusivity and you know it. ME. You throw me under the bus. nice!’, she wrote.
But Fishman was not the only original cast member to take a stand, with Sara Gilbert, who played Roseanne’s daughter Darlene, also releasing a statement that very much echoed the one released shortly after by ABC cancelling the show.
Roseanne’s initial tweet described former President Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett (pictured) looking like the ‘muslim brotherhood & planet of the pages had a baby’
‘Roseanne’s recent comments about Valerie Jarrett, and so much more, are abhorrent and do not reflect the beliefs of our cast and crew or anyone associated with our show. I am disappointed in her actions to say the least,’ wrote Gilbert, who was a producer on the reboot and largely responsible for reuniting the cast.
‘This is incredibly sad and difficult for all of us, as we’ve created a show that we believe in, are proud of, and that audiences love— one that is separate and apart from the opinions and words of one cast member.’
‘Wow! unreal,’ wrote Barr, who had confessed in earlier interviews to the difficult job Gilbert had of trying to rein in her impulse to tweet offensive comments.
However, she later followed up, tweeting: ‘No, I understand her position and why she said what she said. i forgive her. It just shocked me a bit, but I indeed f***ed up.’
She reiterated this soon after when a follower criticized Gilbert, saying: ‘She’s distancing herself from me and my tweet-she has to.’