Fall TV Preview

John Goodman on Keeping Roseanne Alive With The Conners: 'There Was a Debt Owed to This Family'

John Goodman was not ready to say goodbye to Dan Conner. Four months after Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet brought an abrupt end to her titular sitcom, the actor opened up about the decision to keep the Roseanne franchise alive via ABC’s forthcoming, Barr-less spinoff The Conners.

“There was the feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready,” Goodman tells People. “There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story.”

Back in August, Goodman revealed that he fell into a depression in the aftermath of Roseanne‘s sudden, controversial cancellation, telling The Sunday Times that ABC’s decision to pull the plug left him “brokenhearted,” adding, “But I thought, ‘OK, it’s just show business, I’m going to let it go.’ But I went through a period, about a month, where I was very depressed.

“I’m a depressive anyway, so any excuse that I can get to lower myself, I will,” he added. “But that had a great deal to do with it, more than I wanted to admit.”

In the new People interview, Goodman recounts that he was “in my kitchen” when his “daughter or my wife” informed him that his longtime leading lady described ex-Obama aide Valerie Jarrett as the offspring of the “Muslim Brotherhood & Planet of the Apes” on Twitter. “It just didn’t seem true,” he admits. “Then it got true. I was consciously trying to accept it.” 

The 10-episode offshoot will pick up in the wake of Roseanne Conner’s death as “the Conners are forced to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before.” As Goodman notes, it’s a case of art imitating life. “We’re leaning on each other when we do this show,” he tells People. “And supporting each other — that’s a very strong feeling among us. It’s different, but we can create something new from it. Let us finish the story on our own terms. Come along with us and see how we do.”

The Conners debuts Oct. 16 at 8/7c on ABC.

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