Roseanne Barr Fights Back With Hit Fox Nation Comedy Special

Comic/TV star Roseanne Barr is back with a vengeance.

The Feb. 13 debut of Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! — the first stand-up show by the controversial comedian since her namesake hit TV show “Roseanne” and reputation were simultaneously canceled in 2018 following a tweet about Valerie Jarrett, the black former senior adviser to Barack Obama — is a hit with streamers on Fox News Media’s Fox Nation subscription VOD platform, according to the service.

The conservative-themed platform, which features Fox News personalities such as Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade, among others, said Barr’s first-day viewership topped Yellowstone: One-Fifty With Kevin Costner — Fox Nation’s most-watched show of 2022 about the National Park’s 150th anniversary.

A sidebar feature, “Who Is Roseanne Barr?,” was the second-most-watched program of the day, with more than 50% of the viewers on Fox Nation tuned in for the Roseanne Barr-themed content.

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Fox Nation, which launched in November 2018  as a companion to the Fox News Channel featuring opinion-based talk shows and documentaries, has never disclosed viewership metrics or revenue.

In the most-recent fiscal period, Fox said its “other” business segment, which includes Fox Nation, saw revenue increase 13% to $155 million from $145 million in the previous-year period — in part due to higher subscription streaming VOD revenue.

Netflix, Fox Nation Air ‘Murder Mystery 2,’ Roseanne Barr Comedy Special Ads During NFL Conference Championship Games

Netflix spent big advertising its new upcoming original movie Mystery Murders 2, again co-starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, on the NFL’s nationally televised NFC and AFC Championship Game broadcasts Jan. 29 on Fox Sports and CBS Sports, respectively.

Netflix claims the original Murder Mystery was its most-popular original movie in 2019.

It’s not immediately clear whether the trailer for sequel, which is set to debut on Netflix March 31, also streamed on Paramount+, which was live-streaming the AFC title game between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fox Sports also aired the trailer for Fox News Media’s branded SVOD platform Fox Nation’s upcoming comedy special Roseanne Barr: Cancel This! on the NFC title game between the victorious Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers. The one-hour program, which makes its debut Feb. 13, marks Barr’s first return to a stand-up comedy TV special in nearly 20 years.

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Barr’s comedy special was filmed in front of a live studio audience in Houston at the Cullen Theatre and features Barr’s signature comedic take on a variety of topics, from her experiences growing up Jewish in the Mormon citadel of Salt Lake City, moving to Texas, and raising her privileged brood. In conjunction with the special, Fox Nation will release Who Is Roseanne Barr?, an in-depth look inside the life and career of the comedian.

No word yet whether Netflix or Fox Nation plan to air their content ads during Super Bowl LVII, featuring the Eagles and Chiefs squaring off in Glendale, Ariz., on Feb. 12 on Fox Sports.

Fox Nation Streaming Service Inks Roseanne Barr for 2023 Comedy Special

Fox News’ subscription streaming video service, Fox Nation, Sept. 20 announced it has signed Roseanne Barr to produce and perform in a new comedy special, “A Roseanne Comedy Special,” to be released exclusively on the SVOD service in the first quarter of 2023.

Barr, who was fired from the 2018 relaunch of her successful “Roseanne” sitcom following social media comments made about former President Barrack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett, will be doing her first stand-up special in 16 years.

The one-hour special will feature Barr’s signature comedic take on a variety of topics, with no subject off limits.

“Roseanne is a comedy icon whose humor connects with the American audience like no other,” Jason Klarman, president of Fox Nation, said in a statement. “Her ability to channel the challenges of everyday people and find the humor in it all has earned her the passionate following of millions of dedicated fans.”

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Indeed, “Roseanne” won four Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards and a prestigious Peabody Award. Her creation and stark portrayal of Roseanne Conner and the Conner family on the show was widely lauded and notably hailed in the media. The show premiered in October 1988, averaging 30 million viewers a week during its nine-year run. Barr’s return in 2018 for a 10th season delivered a record-breaking premiere, delivering the highest-rated sitcom episode in years.

“A Roseanne Comedy Special” adds to the growing portfolio of original content on Fox Nation, which includes series “Duck Family Treasure,” “Sharon Osbourne: To Hell & Back” (bowing Sept. 26) and the upcoming “Yellowstone: One-Fifty” with Kevin Costner.

‘The Tonight Show’ Nixes Norm Macdonald’s Appearance Following #MeToo Comments

When Netflix hired Norm Macdonald to do a talk show, “Norm Macdonald Has a Show,” which debuts Sept. 14, it knew the “Saturday Night Live” alum could be controversial while delivering a wry sense of humor on any topic.

The SVOD pioneer probably didn’t expect any fireworks until Norm Macdonald “had” a (Sept. 11) show appearance on “The Tonight Show” abruptly cancelled following the comic’s comments in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter published the same day.

In the interview, Macdonald was asked about Donald Trump’s election, the rise of racism in the country and the country’s probable return to liberalism. Macdonald didn’t agree about the latter, using the question to say he was glad the #MeToo movement appeared to “slowing down a bit.”

“It used to be, ‘One hundred women can’t be lying.’ And then it became, ‘One woman can’t lie.’ And that became, ‘I believe all women.’ And then you’re like, ‘What?’ Like, that Chris Hardwick guy I really thought got the blunt end of the stick there,” Macdonald told THR.

That was apparently too much for NBC, which cancelled Macdonald’s “Tonight Show” appearance “out of sensitivity to our audience,” the network said in a statement.

Macdonald, who later apologized for his comments, in the THR interview contended the hunt for sexual misconduct within Hollywood and corporate America has become so pervasive that someone innocent will get caught in the crossfire.

“I know a couple of people this has happened to,” said Macdonald.

Those “two people,” according to Macdonald, include stand-up comedian Louis C.K. and Roseanne Barr – both scorned for well-documented separate sexual misconduct and racist comments. The comic said Louis C.K. and Barr both lost everything in one day.

“But you know what? The victims didn’t have to go through that,” Macdonald said.

The comic, who received his first writing break from Barr, and Louis C.K., who wrote a forward in Macdonald’s most-recent book, said the two have been good friends of his for years.

“They both made terrible mistakes and I would never defend their actions,” Macdonald wrote in a Tweet late Sept. 11. “If my words sounded like I was minimizing the pain that their victims feel to this day, I am deeply sorry.”


Trump Wades Into ‘Roseanne’ Debacle

Leave it to President Donald Trump to make Roseanne Barr’s May 29 racist tweet about a former Obama Administration official about him — and turn it into a social media attack on Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co.

Barr’s comments resulted in widespread condemnation in the media (including from Fox News rightwing firebrand Sean Hannity) and cancellation by Disney-owned ABC of her top-rated “Roseanne” TV show reboot.

While Barr has apologized, she also blamed the incident on her use of insomnia medication Ambien, to which the drug’s manufacturer responded that racism is not a known side effect.

Iger, who called cancellation of the “Roseanne” show the “right thing to do,” reportedly reached out to Valarie Jarret, the former senior advisor to Obama at the center of Barr’s racist tweet.

That was enough to irk Trump, who first took to social media May 30 asking for his own apology — from Iger.

“Bob Iger of ABC called Valerie Jarrett to let her know that “ABC does not tolerate comments like those” made by Roseanne Barr. Gee, he never called President Donald J. Trump to apologize for the HORRIBLE statements made and said about me on ABC. Maybe I just didn’t get the call?” Trump tweeted.

The same day, Trump’s press enabler, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called out ABC and Disney-owned ESPN on a list of alleged political wrongs originated by the media giant’s personalities.

Trump was referring to an “ABC News” report last year by Brian Ross that alleged former national security advisor Michael Flynn had been instructed by Trump to contact Russian sources prior to the 2016 election. That turned out to be false. Flynn had been in contact with the Russians on his own accord, which he later lied about to Congress and was subsequently fired for by Trump.

Ross apologized for the inaccurate report and was suspended.

But to Trump, who remains in the crosshairs of a Russian collusion investigation headed by former FBI leader Robert Mueller — with Flynn cooperating as part of a plea agreement — the grievance remains personal.

“Iger, where is my call of apology? You and ABC have offended millions of people, and they demand a response. How is Brian Ross doing? He tanked the market with an ABC lie, yet no apology. Double Standard!” Trump tweeted May 31.

Iger, who seeks to acquire 20th Century Fox Film in a deal that would require regulatory approval, has not responded. Nor should he.

No ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ for Roseanne

Years ago, the predecessor to Media Play News (Home Media Magazine) interviewed Roseanne Barr regarding a pending DVD release. Barr, who was long past the original “Roseanne” TV show at the time, was charming, witty (“I’m only talking to you for the money”) and bored.

“I sit around the house and watch a lot of TV,” she chuckled. “I like ‘Nancy Grace.’”

Unfortunately for Barr, boredom these days apparently includes wading into the social media abyss — and leaving common sense to others.

Which is what happened to the former standup comic this morning, resulting in a tirade of offensive tweets, including a racist post about a former Obama Administration official. All that was missing was a noose.

Not even Nancy Grace could (or would) save Barr from the swift blowback in the media and on social media condemning her comments. Comic Wanda Sykes, a writer on the “Roseanne” reboot on ABC quickly quit the show in protest.

Barr apologized for her tweets, adding she would be leaving Twitter for good.

Of course, no one should really be surprised considering Barr’s questionable public statements in the past, unrepentant support of President Trump, who launched his campaign on the back of bigotry, and politically incorrect tone in the new “Roseanne” show.

Barr’s comments are protected under the First Amendment, not unlike the Second Amendment affording gun rights to individuals who should never have access to a firearm.

Indeed, Harris Faulkner, a black female host on Fox News, defended Barr.

“I don’t understand it to be anything other than free speech,” Faulkner said.

Yes, but free speech is a slippery slope. Just because you can spout bigoted thoughts, doesn’t mean you should. Especially when you are in the public eye — and advertisers are footing the bill.

ABC wisely canceled “Roseanne,” despite the show’s top ratings in a media landscape under siege by over-the-top video.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Channing Dungey, entertainment chief at ABC, said in a statement.

Barr’s agent, ICM Partners, agreed, dumping her as a client.

“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM said in a statement, as reported by The Wrap. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency.”

Paramount Network, TV Land, CMT and Hulu dropped airing/streaming “Roseanne” re-runs. The show is still available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

And thus, in a matter of hours, Barr went from TV’s biggest comeback story to social outcast, joining “Seinfeld” legend Michael Richards (Kramer) – whose 2006 racist outburst during a standup gig sent the actor’s career into extinction.

Maybe, Barr should start watching “Dr. Phil.”