ABC orders 4 more ‘Jackies’

ABC has ordered four additional episodes of the Roseanne and Tom Arnold-produced sitcom “The Jackie Thomas Show”–bringing its total order to 18 installments–despite its spotty recent performance in terms of holding its “Roseanne” lead-in.

The show, produced by the Arnolds’ Wapello County Prods. in association with Lorimar TV, started strongly behind “Roseanne” but has seen its rating and share retention rapidly decline, falling 32% off TV’s top-rated show each of the last two weeks.

Nine episodes of “Jackie” have aired thus far, but ABC officials note only five of those had the benefit of following “Roseanne” originals.

Roseanne Arnold has been outspoken about her husband’s show deserving a shot at the post-“Roseanne” time slot, and ABC has agreed, saying it will be patient with “Jackie” and air all 14 of the initially ordered segments in its current time period.

While ABC executives clearly feel some pressure to reward the star of their top-rated show, however, the network doesn’t want to sacrifice too much strength in the 9:30 half-hour if “Jackie” slips further off the “Roseanne” pace.

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