‘The Conners’ Stars on the Huge ‘Risk’ in Continuing Without Roseanne: ‘We Want to Finish Telling This Story’

“We all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back,” Laurie Metcalf says

The Conners
ABC/Eric McCandless

When the stars of “Roseanne” decided to pursue a spinoff series without the titular star, they new it wasn’t without risk.

“There was a lot of risk involved,” Laurie Metcalf said in a new interview with People magazine. “But we all decided as a group to take the risk, knowing that we could be judged by deciding to come back.”

Metcalf added: “And you know, coming off such a high, it was hard to wrap our heads around.”

John Goodman and Sara Gilbert joined Metcalf in telling People about their decision to return to the show after the reboot was canceled last spring shortly after Barr sent out a tweet suggesting that former Barack Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett is a product of the Muslim Brotherhood and the “Planet of the Apes.”

Goodman, who plays the Conner family’s patriarch, said that they are grateful to Barr for agreeing to give up financial and creative control.

“That was a very big deal,” he told People. “To give us a chance.”

Still, the actors were initially reluctant to continue the show without Barr — but they ultimately came aboard. “There was the feeling of not wanting it to go away until we were ready,” Goodman. “There was a debt owed to this fictional family. We want to finish telling this story.”

“Any sadness that we feel over what we’ve lost we’re hopefully channeling in an honest way into the show,” Gilbert added.

In the promo for the sitcom, the matriarch has passed away and the family is broke as they head into the holiday season. “And our show has always been able to deal with heavy topics, particularly for a sitcom. It’s been kind of built into the mix.”

“The Conners” premieres Oct. 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC.