Even if you did not watch the season premiere of “Roseanne” on ABC last week, you’ve likely heard by now: The reboot it was a smash ratings success. 18.2 million people tuned in for the double-episode premiere, and it earned a 5.1 rating among adults ages 18 to 49, the best rating in that demographic for any sitcom since 2014. “Roseanne” has already been renewed for a second season.
Now, one week after the premiere, the media discussion around the show has been all about politics, because the show’s star Roseanne Barr is an avid Trump supporter—on the show and in real life. President Trump even called Barr last week to congratulate her on the show’s success, and at a rally in Ohio on Thursday, he cited the show’s ratings and said, “It was about us.”
But the reboot’s success really isn’t about Trump or Trump supporters.
The big interest in “Roseanne” is more of a confirmation, if it wasn’t already obvious, that America has entered the era of the TV reboot. Revivals of hit shows from the 90s are red-hot right now, and studios are hurrying to respond.
In the past two years, “Will & Grace” and “The X-Files” have come back. In the next year, we’ll see reboots of “Charmed,” “Magnum P.I.,” and “Murphy Brown,” to name just a few. Surely more are on the way.
“Roseanne” was a big hit with its premiere, but so was “Will & Grace” when it premiered in September: it averaged 10.1 million viewers, which was seen as very good at the time (it only looks small now in comparison to the mega numbers “Roseanne” did). “Will & Grace” hit on politics, too: the reboot’s first season was generally seen as anti-Trump; in one episode, a baker refused to make a “MAGA” cake.