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Post-cancellation implications for Roseanne show many, costly

As a recent media spotlighting of the high-profile spat between Roseanne Barr and the ABC entertainment network notes, the latter "has a right to cancel any show at any time."

Done deal. The so-called "reboot" of the enormously successful and often edgy sitcom of a generation ago was summarily cut by ABC late last month after the show had reestablished itself via an impressive one-year reintroduction.

It's probably an understatement to say that most readers of our entertainment law blog - most Americans, in fact - have heard a thing or two about that. A racist tweet by Barr virtually grounded the show immediately, with network executives wasting no time in halting production.

That could have, well, implications.

For starters, stresses the above-cited media report, the network is not the only party involved that has legal rights. Barr does too, of course, and she might reportedly opt to exercise them - in court, via a lawsuit that alleges unconstitutional infringement of her First Amendment free-speech rights.

Is that a winning argument?

Likely not, especially given reports that the entertainer signed a contract with an inserted morals clause allowing ABC to do precisely what it did. If Barr does beat a litigation drum, her rationale could primarily be grounded in a desire to settle. And ABC might well consider that after doing a trial-versus-payout cost-benefit analysis.

And then there's this: ABC inked high-bucks contracts with several other stars on the show, who did nothing objectionable. Those actors will reportedly each be paid millions of dollars notwithstanding the show's demise.

That on-the-hook aspect surrounding the ongoing drama (Barr continues to fire off tweets regarding her firing) could possibly motivate ABC to push forward with a no-Barr spinoff. There has reportedly been some receptivity to that idea.

The above article phrases that possibility in these blunt terms: "The only way for ABC to save its wallet," it notes, "may be to bring the show back, sans Barr."

Time will tell - and likely quickly.

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