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Arnolds to get say in any ‘Roseanne’ negotiations

Although the Carsey-Werner Co. owns the ABC hit “Roseanne,” exec producer Tom Arnold reiterated the company’s position that no deals will be made without consulting him and wife Roseanne Arnold, the show’s star.

“I’m involved in (the negotiating process) every step of the way,” he said. “Any decision will be made jointly … Nothing will happen without everybody being on board.”

The Arnolds have signed with Carsey-Werner to do the show for at least two more seasons, but Arnold hinted Wednesday — at a CBS session to promote his own series, “Tom”– that a three-yearrenewal could be in the offing.

In keeping with his reputation as a loose cannon, Arnold also let slip that “Tom” is expected to bow March 2 in the web’s 8:30 p.m. Wednesday slot following “The Nanny,” which has been picked up through the season.

As part of that move, another show from an A-list CBS supplier, Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s “Hearts Afire,” has had its order increased from 13 to 18 episodes, with the understanding that the sitcom will return in mid-April — airing through the May sweeps in the coveted post-“Murphy Brown” Monday slot currentlyoccupied by Diane English’s “Love and War.”

“Hearts” has struggled Wednesdays, after the Thomasons’ Mozark Prods. rejected the sophomore comedy’s initially scheduled Friday slot last fall, reducing its 22-segment commitment in the process. Mozark also felt constrained by the show’s current timeslot, pressing for a berth in the 9 p.m. hour, where it can explore more adult themes.

Arnold said “Tom” has a 12-episode order, though sources said the actual number is still being negotiated.

ABC said earlier this week that negotiations to extend “Roseanne” will begin within the next few days (Daily Variety, Jan. 11), with its current two-year deal ending this year.

Asked about public comments that the couple didn’t want to work with executives who they claimed had lied to them at ABC, Arnold quipped, “I don’t know if you can help it in this town.”

As for the Arnolds’ Wapello County Prods.’ four-series deal at ABC — forged at the height of last spring’s acrimony over the cancellation of “The Jackie Thomas Show”– he noted, “Sometimes when they’re name-calling and wrangling, that’s the best time to make a deal.”

“Roseanne,” which Arnold referred to as “our bread and butter,” is in its sixth season.

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