Vanity Fair – The Roseanne Reboot Completely Smashed Ratings Expectations

Roseanne is a hit—again. The reboot of the beloved ABC sitcom barreled through ratings expectations for Tuesday night’s two-episode premiere. The first episode pulled in 17.7 million people and landed a 4.9 rating in adults 18-49, according to Deadline, while the second episode climbed up to 18.6 million viewers and a 5.3 in the 18-49 range. Roseanne now boasts the biggest series debut of the year, beating out the previous victor, Big Bang Theoryspin-off, Young Sheldon. Those enormous ratings also make Roseanne one of TV’s most successful new reboots, besting NBC’s splashy Will and Grace revival, which drew 10 million viewers.

As Deadline points out, these massive debut ratings even outpaced the original Roseanne’s finale-episode numbers. Back in 1997 (remember the old days?), that showing drew about 16.6 million viewers. Its relatively weak numbers can likely be blamed on the divisive nature of Roseanne’s final season, which the reboot quickly addressed and tried to wave away.

Roseanne has also been drumming up priceless hype and headlines in the last few weeks as the show grapples with the tricky political landscape that made ABC decide to bring the series back in the first place. In real life, star Roseanne Barr is a Donald Trump supporter, a detail that carries over to her sitcom character. As such, that now means the reboot is one of the first mainstream shows to center on a Trump fan and grapple with the current political conversation in a literal way. The show isn’t all politics all the time, but it is shaped by real-world narratives and topical (though, by now a little stale) references like pussy hats and modern healthcare. The Trumpism is balanced by Roseanne’s sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), who is a diehard liberal.

Considering the wildly popular ratings, this formula seems to be working, which means you can certainly expect to see a second season after this one is through. Barr herself has made it clear she’s interested in another season, speaking openly about her ideas for future episodes should the show get renewed. And with numbers like these, why wouldn’t it?

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