ABC on Tuesday quickly axed “Roseanne” in response to star Roseanne Barr’s racist comment on Twitter about former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. A few hours later came word that Hulu and Viacom’s TV Land, CMT and Paramount Network were pulling reruns of the original nine seasons of the sitcom.
However, all episodes of the classic “Roseanne” series, which aired from 1988-97, remain available on Amazon Prime Video. The ecommerce giant began streaming the show last summer, distributed through Amazon’s Video Direct program by FilmRise (which licensed distribution rights to the original nine seasons of the TV series from Carsey-Werner Co.).
In addition, FilmRise plans to continue to make all original seasons of “Roseanne” available on the FilmRise free, ad-supported channel on Roku, as well as its apps for other platforms including Android, Apple TV, and Xbox,
“While FilmRise condemns Roseanne Barr’s recent tweet about Valerie Jarrett as well as other controversial tweets she has made, we believe that does not in any way change the cultural, artistic and historic significance of the classic ‘Roseanne’ show,” FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher said in a statement to Variety. “We do not believe that audiences would be well served by being denied the completely voluntary opportunity to watch this landmark series.”
Meanwhile, “Roseanne” seasons 1-9 also are available to purchase from digital retailers. Those include Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, and Google Play. Both iTunes and Google Play, in addition to offering individual seasons for $19.99 and episodes for 99 cents each, are selling the whole classic run in a $69.99 bundle.
ABC’s season 10 revival, which finished as the top-rated primetime scripted TV show in the demo this year, is not currently available on (legal) digital services. Episodes had been available to stream on ABC’s site and apps, but the network yanked those earlier this week.
It’s possible — at least in the short term — that publicity surrounding ABC’s cancellation of the “Roseanne” revival and Barr’s ignominious tweet will drive up digital sales and viewing of the show. But clearly, FilmRise and its partners would have preferred to have the hit show stay on the air.