How the Roseanne Revival Came Together, According to Laurie Metcalf

Who got the Conner family back together for an eight-episode series?

By Chris Harnick May 26, 2017 1:26 PMTags

There are two trends viewers can't escape in the current TV landscape: superheroes and revivals. The latest revived show is Roseanne, the beloved comedy is returning for eight episodes on ABC midseason, 20 years after its last episode aired in May 1997. The entire original cast—Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Michael Fishman, Lecy Goranson—will return for the revival.

According to Metcalf, the revival got off the ground in a pretty simple manner.

"I think what happened was, John Goodman went on The Talk, Sara Gilbert's show, and they did a little parody, like a 30-seconds parody and it went over really well," she told Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. "Then one of the anchors on the show asked John if he would consider doing a reunion and he said, ‘Of course I would.'"

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That appearance Gilbert thinking, Metcalf said. "Then Sara made calls to everybody and everybody said yes," she said. "So it came together really fast."

It's been 20 years since the show last aired and since then, Metcalf has appeared in numerous projects, on stage and off, including HBO's Getting On and her Tony-nominated role in A Doll's House: Part 2. Will it be hard to get back into Aunt Jackie's skin for Roseanne?

"I think of Barney Fife, I guess," she said referring to Don Knotts character from The Andy Griffith Show. "Jackie was just trying to do so well and couldn't accomplish things easily."


"The Conners' joys and struggles are as relevant – and hilarious – today as they were then, and there's really no one better to comment on our modern America than Roseanne," Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a statement when the revival was announced.

See how much the cast has changed since the show was first on below.

Rosanne Barr

Since Roseanne ended in 1998, Barr, who had won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her work on the sitcom, has hosted a talk show (The Roseanne Show), had a reality show (Roseanne's Nuts), served as a judge on Last Comic Standing, and was roasted on Comedy Central. She's also written three books and attempted to run for president in the 2012 election.

John Goodman will they explain this one? Goodman's gruff-yet-jovial character Dan died in the series finale, an ending fans are still upset about. Since the show ended, Goodman has starred in films such as Argo, 10 Cloverfield Lane and Kong: Skull Island.

Sara Gilbert

Gilbert is reprising her role as the sarcastic Darlene for the revival, and she's also serving as an executive producer. Gilbert is currently an Emmy-award winning EP and co-host of CBS' The Talk, and had a recurring role on The Big Bang Theory as her former co-star Johnny Galecki's potential love interest.

Lecy Goranson

The O.G. Becky is back! Goranson exited the series in its fifth season to go to college, with Sarah Chalke taking on the role in the next two seasons when producers decided to bring the character, who had eloped with her boyfriend, back. But then in season eight, the actors rotated the role, with Chalke taking sole Becky responsibility in the ninth and final season.

Sarah Chalke

Where the hell have you been?! The Scrubs star took over the role of Becky later in the series after Goranson exited. But with Goranson back in action as Becky, Chalke is set to take on a different role.

Michael Fishman

Fishman was just six when he landed the role of D.J., and was 15 when the series wrapped. He reunited with Barr in 2000 as a co-host of The Rosanne Show, and appeared in a 2011 episode of her reality show, Rosanne's Nuts. He's now married with two children.

Laurie Metcalf

Metcalf is back as Rosanne's neurotic sister Jackie, who was revealed to be a lesbian in the finale. Since saying goodbye to the character, Metcalf has starred in Desperate Housewives and HBO's acclaimed Getting On.

Johnny Galecki

Galecki, who played David, Darlene's eventual husband, has gone to become one of TV's highest paid actors after landing the role of Leonard on CBS' The Big Bang Theory. No word yet on how (and if) he will return for the revival, considering he's a series regular on another network.

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Barr, Gilbert, Tom Werner, Bruce Helford, Whitney Cummings and Tony Hernandez will executive produce.

The Roseanne revival will air in 2018 on ABC. In addition to the original cast, Sarah Chalke, who played Becky in later seasons, will return and play another role.