The Conners returns from holiday break tonight with a new episode written by Jana Hunter and Mitch Hunter, and directed by Fred Savage. In “Rage Against the Machine,” Dan gets injured on the job covering D.J.’s vending machine route, and the decision to sue the company could cost D.J. his job. Meanwhile, Jackie is appalled when Becky seeks life coaching from her nemesis and competitor, Rita Silver. The episode airs Tuesday January 8, at 8/7c on ABC.
After tonight’s ninth episode, only two new shows will remain for the Roseanne spin-off; as Deadline reported, the network ordered 11 episodes total. With its January 22 finale looming, the show is still awaiting renewal for Season 2.
The Ratings After Roseanne
The show experienced a tumultuous summer last year. The wildly successful return of Roseanne was abruptly canceled following creator and lead actress Roseanne Barr’s tweet heard ’round the world. After weeks of explanation, apologies, media reactions, and industry speculation, ABC decided to forge ahead with The Conners sans Barr.
The spinoff debuted in October to 10.6 million viewers and a 2.4 demo rating, down “just a hair” from where the Roseanne revival finished with its finale, according to TVLine. Though the show has seen natural declines since, it’s settled into a comfy 1.4 demo rating, still topping other recent revivals like Will & Grace (NBC) and Murphy Brown (CBS) which have been pulling roughly half of The Conners‘s ratings.
However, the show’s December 4 episode hit an all-time low, taking a seven percent dip from the week before. Despite that, ScreenRant and TVLine say that ABC is eyeing a 13-episode second season and that the cast is currently in negotiations.
The Last-Minute Spin-off Received Mostly Positive Reviews Considering the Circumstances
The spinoff has received mostly positive reviews, achieving a 92% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The site’s critical consensus states, “The Conners offers the comforts of its source show, but more focus on the family’s ever-evolving dynamics adds a welcome layer of working-class empathy without losing any of the laughs.”
Not all critics praised the show, though.
“What The Conners noticeably lacks most of all is a bit of the crazy. Without the rightly so disgraced Barr providing that frenzied tension that orbits everything she’s ever done, the spinoff stays pretty much in the middle of the road. Which, let’s be brutally honest, is a pretty dangerous place to be if controversy is the currency of the media landscape in 2018,” wrote Deadline’s Dominic Patten.
Kate Feldman of the New York Daily News had a similar take writing, “The working-class sitcom leans more middle-of-the-road than its predecessor, and while that may help pull viewers from both sides of the aisle, it also makes it kind of boring. Now, The Conners looks just like every other run-of-the-mill sitcom on TV.”
Will There Be a Second Season of The Conners?
From the network’s perspective, it makes sense to bring the Conner family back for a second round of blue collar hijinks. The ratings are there and critics seem to be on board…for now. And after all, you don’t just let acting talent like John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf walk away that easily.
However, Season 2 could be contingent upon its negotiations and whether the entire cast wants to have another go. When the series was originally greenlit, contracts were already in place for cast and crew for Roseanne. With circumstances having changed and more time available for negotiation, time will tell if viewers get to revisit the lovely Lanford. We’re predicting a second season will happen, but it really comes down to Goodman, Metcalf, and Executive Producer/co-star Sara Gilbert.
The Conners also stars Lecy Goranson as Becky Conner-Healy, Michael Fishman as D.J. Conner, Emma Kenney as Harris Conner-Healy, Ames McNamara as Mark Conner-Healy, Jayden Rey as Mary Conner, and Maya Lynne Robinson as Geena Williams-Conner. The show airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.