After Roseanne’s Huge Return, ABC Quickly Renews for Next Season

Premiere was the most-watched comedy telecast since 2014

Next season's Roseanne order is for 13 episodes, up from nine episodes this year. - Credit by ABC
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Less than 48 hours after Roseanne returned to enormous ratings, ABC has already picked up the revival for another season.

On Tuesday, the hour-long return of Roseanne in its former 8 p.m. time slot was watched by a whopping 18.2 million viewers and earned a 5.2 rating in the 18-49 demo, making it the most-watched comedy telecast since September 2014. Tuesday’s premiere also had higher ratings than its then-series finale in May 1997, which was watched by 16.6 million.

In its renewal announcement, the network took the unusual step of touting the show’s live-plus-one ratings, noting that with just one day of delayed viewing tallied, Roseanne’s total viewer numbers jumped to 21.9 million while the 18-49 demo rating increased to 6.2.

“We’re thrilled that America has welcomed the Conner family back into their homes. The show is as fresh and relevant today as it was when it left the air 21 years ago. We can’t wait to see what the ‘Roseanne’ team has in store for next year,” said Channing Dungey in a statement.

This year’s run is for nine episodes, but next year’s order—Season 11—is for 13 episodes.

There’s no word yet on whether Roseanne will return this fall or be held for midseason, as was the case this year. However, based on one of Roseanne Barr’s tweets celebrating the renewal, the star seems to anticipating a fall debut.

ABC hasn’t handed out too many series renewals in 2018, but earlier this month, it picked up breakout freshman hit The Good Doctor for Season 2. Both shows are expected to be a big focus of ABC’s upfront.

Dungey previously told Adweek that she’s open to ordering additional seasons if the revival is a hit. Lecy Goranson, who plays Becky, said the cast was also eager to continue. “The consensus is that we would all love that,” she said.

Producers said in January that the sitcom, which tackled the country’s political divide head-on in its first episode, could help “heal” families who have experienced rifts over Donald Trump’s election.

As part of ABC’s nostalgia-themed marketing campaign for Roseanne’s return, the network turned a New York subway train into Roseanne’s living room—afghan included—and brought the iconic living room set to SXSW.

The network is hoping that Roseanne and American Idol will build on the momentum from The Good Doctor, which ended its season on Monday, and finally get the network out of fourth place among broadcasters in the 18-49 demo, where it has been stuck since the 2015-16 season.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV/Media Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.