Will Hollywood Show More Trump Supporters After Success of 'Roseanne'?

Roseanne Barr will be joined by a lot of the original cast members of 'Roseanne' in the show's upcoming reboot.
Roseanne Barr will be joined by a lot of the original cast members of 'Roseanne' in the show's upcoming reboot. | REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

With 18.4 million people tuning in to last week's double-episode premiere of ABC's "Roseanne," whose main character is pro-Trump, and the show earning the best rating among adults ages 18 to 49 for any sitcom since 2014, a question being asked is whether we will now see Hollywood featuring more Trump supporters?

Actor Roseanne Barr, who plays Roseanne Conner, backs President Donald Trump and the reboot of the show earned a 5.2 rating. This has led media to speculate if it points to something larger.

Trump called Barr to congratulate her on the success of the show and boasted about her ratings at a rally in Cleveland. 

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On NBC's "Meet the Press," host Chuck Todd asked his guests what the success of "Roseanne" tells us "about the disconnect between Hollywood, the coasts, and the rest of America?"

He also noted that the newly launched season "may not be as popular with critics in L.A. and New York, but boy, look at the middle of the country ... These are the best markets that Roseanne rated. Total audience may be bigger than the Oscars."

One of the guests, MSNBC political analyst Elise Jordan, responded by saying that it could be seen as a signal that "the era of Obama culture is over."

"You know, we've gone from Girls on HBO to Roseanne, you know, bursting out of the seams, the most watched network sitcom in the last four years," Jordan said. "So are we going to start to see more coverage reflecting the Trump era? I think that this is perhaps an indication. And also, a really successful revival, too. People liked Roseanne in the '90s. They like it now, too."

NPR host Joshua Johnson, who was also on the NBC show, said he watched the season premier, and found it to be "very good."

"It was funny. John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf stole every scene they were in. The family's very diverse," Johnson said. "There's an interracial relationship. There's a little boy who's experimenting with gender in this series. And they deal with it in a very compassionate way. I think people should give the show a shot."

Barr has said she likes to portray a realistic portrait of the American people and working class people. "And, in fact, it was working class people that elected Trump so I felt that was very real and something that needed to be discussed," City Journal quoted her as saying.

However, political commentator Jared Yates Sexton claimed that "there's a real discomfort among many of the employees (at ABC) with the propagandist nature of the reboot and a feeling that the project is meant to monetize Trump's base."

Barr responded on Twitter by asking, "Oh, really? which episode r they uncomfortable about? the one where we get a dog or my mom gets a boyfriend or I drive for uber or darlene gets a new job or david comes back? which ones monetize trump's base?"

Sexton wrote back, "The one where your character's support of Donald Trump was framed simply as an economic choice. They have real concern this is sanitizing a really problematic worldview and dismissing the inherent bigotry."

During the weekend, Barr was criticized also for allegedly supporting what mainstream media are calling an online conspiracy theory, which claims that President Trump is helping combat a global trafficking ring tied to the "deep state" or to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

"President Trump has freed so many children held in bondage to pimps all over this world. Hundreds each month. He has broken up trafficking rings in high places everywhere. notice that. I disagree on some things, but give him benefit of doubt-4 now," she wrote on Twitter.

Author and columnist John Dean responded to Barr's tweet. "Barr mirrors Trump's supporters, b/c she is one. ABC's going after these folks by reviving her series," he wrote on Twitter. "Conspiracy theories coming? A complex world over simplified? Watch out Fox, real competition. There's a race on for the most ignorant viewers! NPR listeners please don't move!"

Matt Lewis, a columnist from The Daily Beast, wrote about the Trump/Roseanne connection for the Daily Caller in September 2016, before there was a reboot of the show, noting recently about the current controversy that he "nailed it."

"If The Cosby Show helped pave the way for Barack Obama's election, then it might also be said that the groundbreaking show Roseanne was a harbinger for Donald Trump's candidacy," he wrote at the time.

Michael Tomaso, a former MSNBC producer, wrote, "This fictional president sounds amazing! Especially compared to the real one who's been repeatedly retweeting white supremacist linked groups the last two years."

Sara Gilbert, who plays the Conner daughter Darlene on the show, said on Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" that the show's focus is not about politics but family, and what happens when a family is divided over politics.  

"The show is not about politics. It's not about anyone's position or a policy, it's really about what happens to a family when there's a political divide, which is something that I think the entire country can relate to and something we need to talk about. So, with our show, it's never about 'doing an issue' or 'doing politics,' it's 'how do these things affect a family unit?'" she said. 

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