NEW YORK: Ratings success doesn’t trump racism, as Roseanne Barr has discovered after ABC scrapped a planned second series of her revived show following a “repugnant” comment about a former adviser to President Obama.
Barr was quick to apologise for her “bad joke” but the axe fell nonetheless. “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment, announced.
A little over a week ago Disney-ABC Television Group executives had been lauding the show which Dungey described as “holding up a mirror to a segment of the audience that has not felt well represented on television”.
That ability to reach middle America had attracted big-spending brands like PepsiCo, Netflix, McDonald’s and Microsoft and brought in around $45m of advertising in the season just finished.
The decision not to proceed with a longer series in the fall means ABC is potentially missing out on $60m in ad revenue, according to Kantar Media estimates cited by The Wrap.
The true figure will be less since whatever replaces Roseanne – and some fans have called for a spin-off show featuring the star’s on-screen sister Jackie – will offset the losses to some degree.
At a time when advertisers have become increasingly sensitive to brand safety issues, few if any were ever likely to wish to be connected, even indirectly, with the sort of abuse and conspiracy theories espoused by Barr.
“It’s not surprising that Disney made the decision; they had no choice,” Brad Adgate, an independent media consultant, told FOX Business.
“I am sure they are going to lose some revenue potential from next season, but the fallout from the comment made this an easy decision, especially when you consider the Disney brand.”
Sourced from The Wrap, Inquisitr, FOX Business; additional content by WARC staff