23 March 2018 - Burbank, California - John Goodman, Roseanne Barr. "Roseanne" Premiere Event held at Walt Disney Studios. Photo Credit: F. Sadou/AdMedia

Photo Credit: F. Sadou/AdMedia

REARDON: Hollywood Take Notice - 'Roseanne' Is Relatable For Heartland of America

The Connor family looks and feels like a real American family that just might be living in Jefferson County.

Mark Reardon
March 30, 2018 - 10:15 am

Maybe Hollywood should finally take notice. The heavily hyped return of "Roseanne" on ABC drew in a huge audience this past week - a whopping 18.1 million total viewers and a 5.2 in the most coveted demo, adults 19-49. But that's not what should turn heads in Hollywood - it's the fact that the show over-performed right here in Middle America. Yep, right here in Missouri both Kansas City and our city of St. Louis were among the top 10 highest rated markets. KC was #4 overall, and St. Louis came in #9.

I'm not a huge fan of network comedies overall, mainly because they're typically not well-produced and corny. There are certainly noted exceptions ("Modern Family") but for the most part I think Netflix, HBO, Amazon, etc. are producing the best quality TV shows, whether they're comedies or drama. Reboots are also typically really risky. FOX tried and failed with "24" and this past season of the "X-Files" was brutal, just to name a couple. So why in the world would an updated version of an immensely popular show from more than 20 years ago draw such a huge audience? The answer is the same reason Donald Trump was elected President. People in the heartland, in the so-called "flyover states," which typically only get mocked and made fun of by Hollywood, actually have a show that they can relate with that isn't condescending. 

It's not easy to straddle the political lines in any form of entertainment, especially these days. If you say the wrong thing you're likely to alienate half of your audience. But "Roseanne" pulled it off exceptionally well. I was actually blown away by how easily the cast slipped right back into their iconic characters, especially Roseanne Barr and hometown favorite John Goodman. The Connor family looks and feels like a real American family that just might be living in Jefferson County, Missouri or Madison County, Illinois. You just don't get that much, if ever, from shows produced by the Hollywood elites. According to The Hollywood Reporter, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey made some comments in 2016 that ABC hadn't paid enough attention to some of what he called the "true realities of what life is like for everyday Americans" in its programming. 

Ya think? And, bringing this back full circle to politics, that's exactly what happened with Hillary Clinton, the Democrat party and the East and West Coast media elite during the 2016 election. 

Maybe America's affection for the Connor family will result in more than just the head of ABC taking note.