After Roseanne Barr let her racist flag fly on Twitter Tuesday morning, ABC sent shockwaves through the TV universe by canceling her show. Now that the initial surprise that a tweet could prompt a broadcast network to cancel the No. 1 show of the season has settled down, it's time to look at the bigger picture.
The sudden cancelation of Roseanne leaves ABC with a 13-episode hole in its fall schedule and a hefty amount of coin that won't be going into Barr's bank account. The network has a few options for filling the gap and TV Guide has some ideas — from passed-over pilots to shows that were canceled too early — about what the network should use that better fit the network's values.
From the Pilot Pile
ABC passed over a few gems in the annual blood fest that is pilot season to determine what new shows it would bring to viewers in the fall. With Roseanne gone, it's worth taking another look at a couple of the series that were passed over as potential replacements.
The Greatest American Hero: If ABC really wants to show that it is a network that values inclusivity, The Greatest American Hero reboot starring New Girl's Hannah Simone would be the best show to revisit. The show centered on Simone as an Indian-American woman named Meera — a tequila-and-karaoke-loving mess of a human who gets charged with protecting the planet as a superhero. When ABC initially passed on the show, Simone sent a charged tweet (that has now been deleted) saying that broadcast TV wasn't ready to see a brown female superhero in primetime. After the Roseanne backlash, maybe America is trying to tell ABC that it is.
Get Christie Love: Also in the reboot category is Get Christie Love, a spy-drama from Power executive producer Courtney Kemp starring Pitch breakout Kylie Bunbury as a CIA operative who can transform herself into whoever she needs to be to accomplish her mission. The show is an updated take on the 1970s show starring Teresa Graves, and while it's a drama instead of a comedy, it would send a very specific message in response to Roseanne's "Planet of the Apes" tweet.
Most Likely To: If the network is looking to replace Roseanne with name-value, they also passed on a sitcom from Academy Award winning screenwriter Diablo Cody and super producer Greg Berlanti. The latter currently has 14 shows airing across television, but that means he knows how to get a show on the air and we know Cody knows how to write whip-smart dialogue. The sitcom had Yvette Nicole Brown and Lesli Margherita attached to star as former high school enemies who end up living together 20 years later trying to raise their kids. Honestly, who doesn't love Yvette Nicole Brown on their TV??
Time to Un-Cancel?
It's potentially too late to get those pilot stars back to film a show for a fall launch, but ABC could bring new life to shows it already decided to cancel — but ABC would have to get creative with the scheduling. The only comedy to get the axe from ABC this season was Zach Braff's Alex Inc., and while the actor was quick to point out he's not a racist, the show's low ratings don't justify a resurrection. However, elsewhere on the ABC schedule...
Designated Survivor: We know that we are not the only ones that got irate phone calls from their parents when news broke that Designated Survivor wouldn't come back for a third term. While the Kiefer Sutherland political drama declined in ratings over its second season, it still maintained a dedicated, if older, audience. The issue here is that this show also wasn't cheap and there were talks the show would be trying to find its fifth showrunner in three seasons. Still, those creative battles might be worth waging over, you know, racism. The show is also a one-hour drama instead of a half-hour comedy, but with a reduced episode count ABC could probably figure that out.
Quantico: Fans of Quantico were very vocal on Twitter when the spy drama was nixed after three seasons. If ABC isn't willing to make Hannah Simone a broadcast brown superhero, maybe it could keep the kick-ass brown protagonist it had in Priyanka Chopra on the air for another year. The show revitalized itself this year, but its late premiere didn't help it find new viewers. Another shot could give the show a chance to make its new vision work. Again, ABC would just have to get creative with its schedule.
Viva Le Revival!
Maybe it wasn't Roseanne's Trump-centric views that brought in viewers by the boatloads, but the nostalgia of it all. NBC learned the same thing with Will & Grace and CBS is expecting the same from reviving Murphy Brown. If we're willing to dig back into the archives for the next hit, ABC definitely has some gems in the closet of yesteryear.
Family Matters: ABC also has other friendly-family sitcoms about working-class America in the vault too. The cast of Family Matters, which ran on the network from 1989 to 1998, reunited for an Entertainment Weekly story in September and said they are totally down for a revival. Who doesn't want Urkel back in 2018?
Happy Endings: Thanks to Netflix and streaming deals, the Happy Endings audience has grown exponentially since its cancellation in 2013. It's a beloved comedy and will stand out among ABC's family-centric comedy block. The only issue here is that cast members Damon Wayans Jr. and Zachary Knighton are already signed on to other new shows (Happy Together and Magnum P.I., respectively), so the revival would have to work around their absence.
Pushing Daisies: OK, yes, not a half-hour comedy but the show's creator Bryan Fuller has already tweeted that he'd be down to bring back his quirky comedy about a pie-maker who can bring people back from the dead with a single touch. The show was before its time and is always at the top of critics lists when it comes time to talk about reviving shows. The interesting thing here is that even Starz couldn't afford Fuller's full creative vision (Fuller left his position as showrunner for American Gods over budget disputes), so could ABC manage his expectations in the 2018 era?
Selfie: It's been almost four years and we are still salty that Selfie got the premature axe from ABC in 2014. Yes, the pilot was misguided but the romantic comedy developed very serious heart early on its 13-episode run. Karen Gillan is a little busy playing Nebula in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but filming for the next Avengers movie has already wrapped and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 doesn't start production until next year, so maybe there's time this summer to get her and John Cho back together for some feel-good romantic tension. Let's make a call.
Enlisted: Speaking of show creators trying to bring back their short-lived comedies, Kevin Biegel and Mike Royce threw their hats into the Roseanne replacement ring by tweeting that they'd love to bring back Enlisted, the one-and-done Army comedy that died at Fox in 2014. It was another underrated show that just needed some time to grow. It also starred certified babes Geoff Stults, Parker Young and Chris Lowell so COME ON.
What do you think should take Roseanne's place?