The Conners continues a grand tradition with its Tuesday, Feb. 11 episode: A live episode.
Pegged to the results of the New Hampshire Democratic primary, ABC's Roseanne spinoff will broadcast live. The Conners cast will perform the episode live twice, for the East Coast and West Coasts, with ABC News coverage incorporated into the story in real time as the primary results come in. The Conners' "Live from Lanford," has Mark (Ames McNamara) watching the results for a school project with his sister Harris (Emma Kenney), who is rather apathetic about the whole electoral process believing money has the real influence.
According to ABC, the episode features the other characters sharing their takes on politics and voting while prepping a surprise going-away party for Louise (Katey Sagal). This results in some major tension between Dan (John Goodman) and the family as his complicated relationship with Louise hits a crossroads.
Beyond the recent swath of live musical productions such as The Wonderful World of Disney Presents: The Little Mermaid Live, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert and Rent Live (despite much of Rent being a pre-taped dress rehearsal), which were all sparked by the success of NBC's The Sound of Music Live, live TV episodes were stunts used to grab ratings and attention. Going live for a TV show is a tired and true practice.
Most multi-camera sitcoms like The Conners are taped in front of a live studio audience, leading to an easier time for the shows to transition to a live format. However, single-camera comedies and one-hour dramas have been known to dip their toes into the water. Even cartoons.
Get a brief recent history of the trend below. Obviously there are other instances of a show going live, like soap opera One Life to Live, so emphasis on brief and recent history.
The Conners airs Tuesdays, 8 p.m. on ABC.