Why Greenlighting the Roseanne Spin-off Was Both Absolutely Necessary and the Most Ethical Choice Possible

Roseanne was rightfully canceled, and now ABC is making a spin-off series. Before you complain and crap all over this, you need to keep this VERY important information in mind:

While the actors had contracts and still received pay for the unaired episodes and the episodes that hadn’t been shot yet, the writers for the show got paid NOTHING for the scripts they had written for the rest of the season. RB destroyed the show, and these writers (as well as countless crew members) had already written scripts for the rest of the season, and they had also turned down all other jobs in order to work on this show for several months.


And they got paid nothing. They could have lined up other work, but they chose to write for this show. Now we’re talking about not just the writers but their families also suddenly finding themselves jobless, unable to make ends meet (potentially lose their houses, etc.) because of what happened.

This show “spinoff” needed to occur so that the writers (and dozens of others and their families) didn’t have their lives implode. Being a writer and getting a contract for a show means clearing out up to a year of all other possible jobs they could have gotten on other shows, movies, and other media.


Also, knowing that, now imagine this: Your writers’ room already wrote a full season, and that was thrown in the trash and burned. Now you have to write a whole new season from scratch to get paid what you were supposed to be paid in the first place. In other words, they’re all having to do the job twice but still only getting paid for it once (assuming that the “spin-off” actually airs all of its episodes.

So please, have some understanding and kindness for these hard-working people. Being a television writer (unless you’re big, and big these writers are not) is not an easy choice of profession. But here we have a special case. All of the actors’ contracts included for them to be paid even though the show was cancelled and they never finished their actual work.


So please realize that this is ABC doing the right thing for the working person (ironically). ABC needed to make it right to the writers and crew members. Those aren’t glamorous jobs, and most people don’t know their names, much less what they do and how difficult it is in this business because it’s an under-appreciated gig-to-gig, freelance profession. Many live check-to-check, especially those who have families. It’s a constant struggle, and the fact that they had turned down all other jobs out there means that they were left high-and-dry.

Some people were going to lose their homes. Knowing that, isn’t that enough? This was the only reasonable, responsible, and respectful choice that ABC and the high-profile, well-known actors (and show runners) could make.


This is absolutely the right thing to do. And it’s surprising that in this cutthroat industry, a big network company made the ethical decision.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter