ABC Suspends 'Roseanne' Emmys FYC Campaign

Roseanne Still 2 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of ABC

Does ABC's decision to cancel Roseanne, in the wake of a racist tweet Tuesday morning by executive producer/star Roseanne Barr, also cancel its Emmy prospects? The answer appears to be yes.

The Alphabet network is suspending its FYC campaign on behalf of the show, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned. The first visible evidence of this will come Sunday, when talent from the show will not participate in a daylong event promoting talent from several ABC Entertainment/ABC Studios programs to TV Academy members on the Disney lot. The network had previously announced that Roseanne would be showcased with a screening and panel featuring castmembers. (Barr was never expected to participate, as she will not be back in town until late July/early August.)

The show was also removed from ABC's press website Tuesday morning.

ABC was forced to scramble a response when Barr tweeted in reference to Valerie Jarrett, a black female adviser to former President Barack Obama, "muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj," setting the internet on fire. ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey, the first black woman ever to run a major television network, announced the cancelation of the show, with the full support of Bob Iger, the chief of ABC's parent company, Disney, who called it "the right thing" to do.

Can a TV show still seriously contend for Emmy nominations — voting for which begins June 11 — without the full-throated support of its network? That may not be impossible. Contrary to popular belief, there are a healthy number of conservative-leaning members of the TV Academy, starting with none other than Barr’s vocal fan, President Donald Trump, and some of them may want to push back against what they see as "political correctness" run amuck. But support for some associated with the show — and the program itself — could even come from people who despise Barr and everything she stands for, THR learned from outreach to members Tuesday.

A high-powered member of the TV Academy's producers peer group, who asked not to be named, tells THR, "This is disturbing on so many levels, and I feel terrible for Sara Gilbert and so many others paying the price for Roseanne's shoot-from-the-lips stupidity. But I would certainly be willing to vote for the show or other people associated with it."

A newer member of the same peer group, who also asked not to be named, makes a similar distinction: "I think the whole situation is really unfortunate for essentially everyone on the show. There's physical production folks who had the next two or three years of their livelihoods lined up — and possibly much more than that — who just lost that work because she's a Twitter idiot." As for his ballot, he notes, "I couldn't see myself voting for the show in a grander capacity, but I would consider voting for [individuals] that are not [Roseanne]."

But not all members are as forgiving. "I joined the Television Academy hoping that I can help support positive change in the industry, and this moment certainly feels like a test," says a member of the public relations peer group who asked not to be named. "[The show] is dropping farther and farther down the list of screeners I want to get through. And with so many outstanding television series with incredible talent both behind the scenes and onscreen, I'd imagine some of my peers may skip it entirely."

Jonathan Taylor, a member of the same peer group, was more to the point, and may be speaking for the majority of TV Academy members when he says, "Roseanne's behavior today is merely the continuation of her awful behavior ever since the show was announced, so this series wasn't even on my Emmy radar. As a member of the PR branch, I only get to vote for shows, and I wouldn't have voted for Roseanne even if she showed some decency and humanity — not funny, not original, not worthy. But I do feel terrible for the talented cast and crew who will now suffer, because of her, at the Emmys and [with] ongoing employment. The price of racist stupidity, unfortunately."