ABC’s Roseanne spinoff The Conners will add Justin Long to the cast in a recurring role as Darlene’s new love interest. The first season of The Conners, the new series that came together after the Roseanne revival was canceled by ABC, keeps beefing up its cast as it presses on with the story of the Conner family without Roseanne Barr.
Barr of course was fired by ABC after a racist tweet that touched off a firestorm of controversy. How the new show will deal with Roseanne’s departure is still not known, but Barr herself claims the writers will kill off Roseanne with an opioid overdose. With Barr now gone, the focus of the series will largely shift to Sara Gilbert’s Darlene, depicted in the Roseanne revival as a single mother trying to raise a pair of troublesome kids.
Darlene’s life may be in disarray as she deals with her domestic and work difficulties (she was last seen taking a terrible job at a casino), but at least she gets a new love interest in season 1 of The Conners. TVLine reports that New Girl and Tusk actor Justin Long has joined the show’s cast in a recurring role as that love interest, a man named Neil. No other details about the character have been revealed.
And Long isn’t the only new star joining the cast of The Conners as it revs up for its first season. Juliette Lewis will also climb aboard as Blue, the girlfriend of Darlene’s estranged husband David. Of course, David is played by Johnny Galecki, who is expected to have a bigger role on The Conners after making only a one-episode appearance in the last season of Roseanne. Steve Zahn will also join the cast as a new love interest for Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), a character who on the original series was known for going through boyfriends with some rapidity. It remains to be seen if widower Dan (John Goodman) will get his own new romantic partner as the season progresses, or if he’ll choose to stay single after the death of Roseanne.
As teased in a recent promo, The Conners will plunge its old and new characters straight into some relatable situations, as the family tries to figure out how to deal with the holidays. As for whether Roseanne Barr will be watching to see what her former TV family is up to without her, the actress claims she will be in Israel studying instead of tuning in. After all the controversy that descended on the Roseanne revival, ABC just hopes that The Conners can carry on the show’s legacy minus the outside distractions. They are also hoping the show can come close to the big ratings Roseanne brought in when it returned to the network earlier this year.
The Conners premieres Tuesday, October 16 on ABC.