With Roseanne Revival, NBC & ABC See ‘Red States, Ratings Gold’

After ABC’s revival of Roseanne received huge ratings Tuesday night, on Thursday, NBC’s Today show and ABC’s Good Morning America suddenly discovered the value of shows set in red states with pro-Trump characters.  

“Red states, ratings gold!” Today co-host Hoda Kotb proclaimed at the top of the NBC morning show. “Why Roseanne’s big return has the attention of both Hollywood and Washington,” she announced. Introducing an unusual full segment promoting the ABC sitcom in the 7:30 a.m. ET hour, Kotb informed viewers: “Get this, more than 18 million people tuned in for the sitcom’s revival, that’s after, oh, just a 21-year hiatus. And with the attention on really timely issues, including the political divide, it seems really relevant right now.”

 

 

Fellow co-host Carson Daly noted that President Trump himself “called Roseanne Barr on Wednesday to congratulate her.” He added: “Like Barr, her character Roseanne Connor is an ardent Trump supporter.”

Highlighting the demographics of the show’s audience, Daly broke down the data: “The revival’s premiere a hit in both red and blue states, but especially dominating in places like Tulsa, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh, all cities in red states where Mr. Trump won the 2016 election.” Variety Managing Editor Joe Del Bruno chimed in: “They wanted to see a person that spoke their language, that was a Trump supporter from a kind of hardscrabble Midwestern city.”

Daly even pointed to Donald Trump Jr. tweeting that the success of Roseanne’s return showed that “there’s some demand for an alternate viewpoint.” The host observed: “Right now, few shows like Roseanne feature blue-collar characters, some with conservative views.”

Wrapping up the report, he mentioned that “Roseanne’s success now has people on Twitter re-imagining other hit shows. Some even asking which characters on Friends would vote for Mr. Trump.”

After the taped portion of the segment, Daly continued to rave about the ratings:

Just a couple of points to really show you how big this thing was. This premiere had 10% higher overall total viewers than the series finale 21 years ago, which is really saying something....Also noteworthy, the half-hour TV sitcom has been almost an impossible thing to get everybody in this country on board because of just how divided we are. Tonally, Roseanne has nailed it.

“Well, it seems like they hit all the viewpoints and they’re talking like a lot of families, right?” Kotb replied. Daly enthused: “Both sides very happy with it.”

“And Roseanne comes roaring back. A blockbuster return for the sitcom taking on the tough issues,” Good Morning America co-host Amy Robach declared in a top-of-the-show tease. Moments later, Robin Roberts gushed: Roseanne’s return getting huge numbers, biggest in years. Many, many people tuning in.” Robach adding, “It was like the good old days, families sat around the TV and had a communal activity. More than 18 million of you watching the premiere.”

During a 7:30 a.m. report, correspondent Linsey Davis cheered: “It was a huge hit. After a two-decade hiatus, Roseanne is back with that same infectious laugh, that same wry sense of humor, and make-no-apologies style.” She touted: “And at center stage...the political divides within families following the 2016 election.”

Like Daly, she provided a ratings break-down: “More people actually watched the show’s premiere Tuesday night than the 1997 finale and all indications are that the show resonated with audiences across the country. It was highest rated, in fact, smack dab in the middle of America, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.”

In an exclusive interview with Roseanne Barr that followed, co-host George Stephanopoulos wondered: “Do you think you guys are providing something that isn’t being seen in movies, in television elsewhere?” Barr responded: “Yeah, I do. You know, the idea that people can agree to disagree is kind of missing from everything....that’s what we need to do as a country, is, you know, figure out what we don’t like, talk to each other, and, you know, discuss how we’re gonna to get it changed or fixed.”

Stephanopoulos asked: “Well, you’ve had a great start. You think it’s the start of something big again?” Barr replied: “Well, I really hope that it opens up, you know, civil conversation between people instead of just mudslinging. I really do. Because I think we need to be more civilized than that.”

If there’s a chance to make money, the liberal media become quite eager to hear from red state America.

Here is a full transcript of the March 29 report on NBC’s Today:

7:32 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Another big talker this morning, Carson’s got this story, the much-anticipated return of Roseanne.

HODA KOTB: Yeah, get this, more than 18 million people tuned in for the sitcom’s revival, that’s after, oh, just a 21-year hiatus. And with the attention on really timely issues, including the political divide, it seems really relevant right now. Carson, you’ve got this story.

CARSON DALY: That’s right, guys. We know President Trump pays attention to ratings, that’s for sure. And we can tell you he called Roseanne Barr on Wednesday to congratulate her. Like Barr, her character Roseanne Connor is an ardent Trump supporter. This show just the latest show to return to TV in a new political climate   

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Red States and Ratings Gold; “Roseanne” Latest Pro-Trump Hit Phenomenon]

JACKIE HARRIS [LAURIE METCALF]: What’s up, deplorable?

DALY: This morning, everything’s coming up roses for Roseanne.

ROSEANNE CONNOR [ROSEANNE BARR]: Aunt Jackie thinks every girl should grow up and be president, even if they’re a liar, liar, pant suit on fire.

DALY: The hit show returning 20 years later to massive ratings, more than 18 million people tuning in. Roseanne Barr tweeting, “I am so grateful to the fans of the Roseanne show for giving it a good premiere rating. You are all wonderful.” Adding, in perhaps a nod to President Trump, “Here is to making America laugh & talk again!”  

DONALD TRUMP: We will make America great again!

DALY: Barr is a vocal supporter of President Trump, as is the character she plays.

ROSEANNE BARR: Well, she did vote for the President.

JIMMY KIMMEL: That’s part of the dynamic with you and your family on that show.

BARR: Yeah, and in real life.

KIMMEL: Is your family mad at you?

BARR: Well, you know, we had some pro-Hillarys and some pro-Trump, and there was a lot of fighting.

DALY: A familiar feeling among many families across the U.S. since the 2016 election. The revival’s premiere a hit in both red and blue states, but especially dominating in places like Tulsa, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh, all cities in red states where Mr. Trump won the 2016 election.

JOE DEL BRUNO [VARIETY MANAGING EDITOR]: They wanted to see a person that spoke their language, that was a Trump supporter from a kind of hardscrabble Midwestern city.

DALY: The show’s success even capturing the attention of Donald Trump Jr., the First Son tweeting, in part, “Seems there’s some demand for an alternate viewpoint.” Right now, few shows like Roseanne feature blue-collar characters, some with conservative views.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL [ROSEANNE]: Can I have some money?

DARLENE CONNOR [SARA GILBERT]: I don't know, Mom, can I have some money?

DALY: Roseanne is just the latest show to ride the revival wave.

ROSEANNE CONNOR [BARR]: I don’t know, can I have some money?

DALY: Among them, Fuller House, Gilmore Girls, Murphy Brown, and Will & Grace.

KAREN WALKER [MEGAN MULLALLY, WILL & GRACE]: Melania called me last night after one of her night terrors.

DALY: In the politically charged climate of 2018, many revivals have had to figure out how to re-frame their characters. Roseanne’s success now has people on Twitter reimagining other hit shows. Some even asking which characters on Friends would vote for Mr. Trump.

DEL BRUNO: It’s sort of an interesting continuation of the dialogue America’s having about politics and who we identify with and who we support.

DALY: Just a couple of points to really show you how big this thing was. This premiere had 10% higher overall total viewers than the series finale 21 years ago, which is really saying something.

GUTHRIE: Wow!

KOTB: Wow.

DALY: Also noteworthy, the half-hour TV sitcom has been almost an impossible thing to get everybody in this country on board because of just how divided we are. Tonally, Roseanne has nailed it.

KOTB: Well, it seems like they hit all the viewpoints and they’re talking like a lot of families, right?

DALY: Both sides very happy with it.

GUTHRIE: Al was watching it and he was, like, “It’s funny, it’s good.”

KOTB: Yeah, it’s funny. Good TV.

GUTHRIE: That’s it.

Here is a full transcript of the March 29 report on GMA:

7:31 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now we’re going to take a look at that huge comeback for Roseanne. Tuesday’s debut scored record ratings. Highest rated comedy in nearly four years, number one trend on Twitter. Of course, it’s tackling hot-button topics again and we’re going to talk about it all with Roseanne after Linsey Davis brings us the latest. Good morning, Linsey.

LINSEY DAVIS: Good morning, George. It was a huge hit. After a two-decade hiatus, Roseanne is back with that same infectious laugh, that same wry sense of humor, and make-no-apologies style. But now, tackling some decidedly modern issues.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: “Roseanne” Makes Blockbuster Return; Scores Record Ratings Tackling Hot Button Topics]

If the ratings are any indication, the revival of Roseanne is a smash hit, with more than 18 million viewers.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL [ROSEANNE] You’re all ruining my life. You all suck.

DAN CONNOR [JOHN GOODMAN]: I ain’t seen that movie in 20 years. Classics really do hold up.

DAVIS: Since the show’s finale 21 years ago, Roseanne and the Connor family –

JACKIE HARRIS [LAURIE METCALF]: What’s up, deplorable?

DAVIS: Diving head first into the issues and conversations happening right now across America. From the rising cost of health care...

DAN CONNOR [GOODMAN]: Funny story, our insurance don’t cover what it used to so I got half the drugs for twice the price.

DAVIS: ...to Roseanne’s grandson, who likes dressing like a girl.

DAN CONNOR [GOODMAN]: You hear that honey, my grandson’s nails are wet.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY [ROSEANNE]: I like your nail polish, Grandpa.

DAN CONNOR [GOODMAN]: That’s drywall, son.

DAVIS: And at center stage...

JACKIE HARRIS [METCALF]: Every one of you wrapping yourselves up in the flag and clinging to your guns.

ROSEANNE CONNOR [BARR]: Oh, that’s such a stereotype.

HARRIS [METCALF]: Oh, forget it.

ROSEANNE CONNOR [BARR]: Where you going?

DAN CONNOR [GOODMAN]: I just realized, we got kids in the house and I can’t remember where we hid our gun.

DAVIS: ...the political divides within families following the 2016 election.

HARRIS [METCALF]: How could you have voted for him, Roseanne?

ROSEANNE CONNOR [BARR]: He talked about job, Jackie. He said he’d shake things up. I mean, this might come as a complete shock to you but we almost lost our house the way things are going.

HARRIS [METCALF]: Have you looked at the news because now things are worse.

ROSEANNE CONNOR [BARR]: Not on the real news.

HARRIS [METCALF] Oh, please!

DAVIS: At its peak, the premiere garnering 15 tweets per second, mostly positive. One viewer writing, “This conversation was needed. It’s not a left or right thing. We the people agree to disagree.”

More people actually watched the show’s premiere Tuesday night than the 1997 finale and all indications are that the show resonated with audiences across the country. It was highest rated, in fact, smack dab in the middle of America, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Linsey, thanks.


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