Monday, May 20, 2024

“The Conners” Gets a New Lease on Life in Season 5 with Long Awaited Move Back to 8PM, Ratings Rise by 500K


It doesn’t seem possible, but “The Conners” has a new lease on life.

The “Roseanne” spin off spent its last two seasons at 9pm on Wednesdays. “Roseanne” always aired at 8pm, and indeed the show was the perfect anti-family show for the family hour. “The Conners” played its first two seasons also a 8pm, where it was a hit.

But then in season 3 ABC changed their day and time. The show dropped by well over 500,000 viewers. It wasn’t just the change of day but the time. “The Conners” was far from cutting edge. It’s a family show, you know, about a family with kids. But ABC sacrificed it for the miserable “Goldbergs.”

Then a funny thing happened. Jeff Garlin was forced off “The Goldbergs.” The show spiraled because he was the only reason to watch it. “The Goldbergs” is a bore. Their ratings dropped. So ABC switched “The Conners” and “The Goldbergs” this year. “The Conners” ratings are back, averaging 3.5 million viewers. Maybe it’s me, but the show seems relieved. It has a new lease on life.

I hadn’t watched “The Conners” for quite a while, but when I didn’t have the Yankees to worry about last night, I tuned in. Jackie — the great Laurie Metcalf — had gotten unwatchable last year, Yet, now she has her own house set, a normal husband (Nat Faxon as Neville, the brother of Dan’s new wife, Louise). Metcalf has better writing, it seems, too. She’s no longer substituting twitches for dialogue. Maybe her Emmy winning turn on “Hacks” shook up the staff.

Darlene and Becky are the same, although they’re spatting less and acting like loving — but still acerbic — sisters. Last night’s show didn’t give much to John Goodman, but I’m sure he’ll be back in the center ring by next week.

And that 3.5 million — it suggests there’s life left in this crowd. Season 6?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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