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The battles of Roseanne Barr and why a spinoff show could lead to another epic fight


The entertainer who often goes by one name — Roseanne — was ready for a fight. She was furious at ABC. Feeling deceived and disrespected by the network behind her immensely popular sitcom, a linchpin of its prime time slate, she was determined to rally her outspoken fan base to save the series she'd worked so hard on and make ABC pay.

That explosion, however, was not fallout from the cancellation of her series last month after a racist tweet. It was actually part of the Roseanne-versus-ABC era of 1993, when Barr was going by her married name Roseanne Arnold. Her uproar was ignited by the network's indecision over the fate of "The Jackie Thomas Show," starring her then-husband, Tom Arnold. The couple were executive producers of the series, which had performed poorly despite having "Roseanne" as a lead-in. But that mattered little to Roseanne Arnold. She dared ABC to cancel it.

In a declaration of war, Roseanne announced that her relationship with ABC was "absolutely over" and threatened to take "Roseanne," her groundbreaking series about the blue-collar Roseanne Conner family, to another network.

"This show is my best work," she proclaimed in interviews about "The Jackie Thomas Show." "It's a great show, very dark, sinister and cutting edge. It's a lot more cutting edge than anything David Lynch and Oliver Stone can bring to television."

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