ABC’s new spinoff series, “The Conners,” premiered on Tuesday — and it’s already off to a controversial start.
The new sitcom was created following the cancellation of the network’s popular show, “Roseanne,” which was scrapped in May after star Roseanne Barr was fired for making racially insensitive tweets.
In June, it was revealed that a new sitcom centered around the Conners family would air, without the former star. That left many fans wondering about the fate of the beloved Roseanne character on the show.
And on Tuesday’s premiere, viewers learned just how producers decided to handle Barr’s exit.
During the reboot’s premiere, it was revealed that Roseanne died from an opioid overdose that took place three weeks before, Entertainment Tonight reports.
Previously, the character realized that she had a dependence on painkillers after undergoing an operation.
The manner of her death drew mixed reactions from fans. Many thought the decision was inappropriate, while others appreciated that producers were addressing a very real issue — the opioid problem in America.
One fan wrote:
#TheConners using Roseannes departure to tackle the issue of opiod addiction which is rampant in this country is a very responsible way to carry on with the show
— 🐝 (@BBStanAcc) October 17, 2018
I can not believe they killed Roseanne off with OPIODS. They use a problem people are actually dealing with to hit back at @therealroseanne one more time! This is why we #WalkAway! They took a strong character and ruin her legacy with this stunt! I won’t watch @ABCNetwork again. pic.twitter.com/BsMqVAxVjC
— 🇺🇸Tasha🇺🇸 (@TashaRedPilled) October 17, 2018
Barr wasn’t happy about the way her character was killed. On Wednesday, she released a statement about the decision. The actress wrote, in part:
While we wish the very best for the cast and production crew of The Conners, all of whom are deeply dedicated to their craft and were Roseanne’s cherished colleagues, we regret that ABC chose to cancel Roseanne by killing off the Roseanne Conner character. That it was done through an opioid overdose lent an unnecessary grim and morbid dimension to an otherwise happy family show.
She later went on to criticize ABC for not overlooking her “regrettable mistake,” despite multiple apologies.
The statement was released by Barr’s friend, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, founder of World Values Network.
“The Conners” cast members have not spoken out about the decision since the premiere.
The show airs at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays on ABC network.