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.