Forbes: The Reboot Of ‘Roseanne’ Proves The Power Of Relevant Content In The New Heartland

There has been a lot of well-deserved buzz about the relaunch of Roseanne over the last month. The sitcom’s tenth season premiered – after being off-air for more than two decades – and more than 25 million people tuned in. The original Roseanne was raw – it was real and got down to what was—and still is—true life for many people in Middle America. And the new season is just as honest.

“It’s working-class people and the things they go through. They’re trying to stay above water. I wanted to bring those subjects to television,” says Roseanne Barr, who doesn’t think nuts-and-bolts issues get enough attention. “They don’t have too much real stuff on TV. That’s good for me.”

A recent USA Today article pointed out how America would receive a “blue-collar comedy hour” with an episode of Roseanne followed by The Middle. Like RoseanneThe Middle follows the daily life of a middle-class family in Middle America. Roseanne’s comeback comes right as The Middle prepares for its final episodes – leaving no gap in a relatable comedy for New Heartland fans.

The article quoted Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline – Midwest natives, writers of the original Roseanne and creators of The Middle – and Heisler’s words stuck out to me. She spoke about the launch of The Middle, after Roseanne had been off-air for more than 10 years.

Heisler said, “I think the world was ready again for a Midwestern flyover-state story. People embraced it and we heard from our fans — from the Midwest, especially: ‘You have a camera in my house!’.”

“Flyover-states” were the first words that grabbed my attention. These flyover-states include a large part of the New Heartland – the 26 states that make up the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast. The next words that caught my eye were, “You have a camera in my house!”  Proof that it really hits home.

The original Roseanne ran from 1988 to 1997. The Middle began in 2009 and will end this year, just as Roseannegears back up. Decades ago, these shows figured out how to connect with New Heartlanders, which is something many brands still struggle with today.

Thirty years after its initial episode, Roseanne can still successfully hook its audience with the same messaging as before, but during a different time in our country.

Paul Jankowski

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