ABC had no choice but to fire Roseanne

For ABC Entertainment, there was no second option on what to do about actress Roseanne Barr after she fired off what the network accurately described as an "abhorrent, repugnant" tweet that referred to former Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett as a product of the "The Planet of the Apes," and threw in the Muslim Brotherhood for good measure.

She had to be fired. 

Immediately. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Because there is no spinning such a racist, vile statement, even if it was meant, as the actress described, as "a bad joke." 

 

And this probably wasn't easy for the suits at ABC or Disney, its parent company, to carry this act out so quickly and decisively.  

Note: The revival of Roseanne — a network comedy that was last seen on the air, outside of repeats, in 1997 — premiered to an audience of more 18 million on March 27, the highest viewership for any network comedy since 2014. 

"Roseanne" finished the key May sweeps ratings period as the top-rated entertainment program, which for ABC was enough to carry it out of a decidedly third or fourth place during the past few seasons, in the key 25-54 age demographic, into a tie for second with CBS and Fox. 

“The No. 1 TV show, full stop. The last time we had the No. 1 show was 24 years ago, that’s some cool amount of trivia that we chose not to mention in the last 24 years," boasted Disney/ABC Television Group President Ben Sherwood on May 15 in the network's Upfront presentation to advertisers.

“If anyone came to play a drinking game for how many times we mention ‘Roseanne,’ you’re welcome," he added. 

Fast forward to just 13 days later.  

"Roseanne's Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show," ABC said after Barr's tweet about Jarrett quickly went viral for all the wrong reasons.  

Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who is rumored to be weighing a run for president in 2020, added that cancelling the show was the company's only option.  

You have to feel for John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Laurie Metcalf and the rest of the Roseanne cast, crew and staff. 

One minute they're flying high as the No. 1 comedy on television, a rare feat for any reboot. 

A second season — and likely big raises — awaited them. 

And then, its star sent out the kind of tweet that destroyed her career and took an entire show, along with its cast and production crew, down with it. 

Roseanne Barr likely will never work again. 

But don't blame ABC. 

It had zero options outside of taking an ax to what was otherwise a bold and successful experiment. 

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.