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Can The Conners have staying power, bucking the sitcom revival trend?

  • The Conners returns tonight for its official second season -- but the third season if you count the Roseanne revival that aired early last year. The Roseanne spinoff premiered to big ratings with 13 million  last fall, but viewership dipped to just under 9 million by the end of the season -- still great numbers for ABC. With Season 2, The Conners is out to prove it has staying power. "If the first two episodes of Season 2 are any indication, these solid sitcom entries could go on for a while," says Ben Travers, noting that the show has settled into a groove. Still, as he points out, recent nostalgia-driven sitcom revivals haven't fared well in the long-term. "A funny thing has been happening to recent sitcom revivals," he says. "While plenty are still being made, developed, and considered, even the initial hits have dropped out of favor. After years and years of demand, Arrested Development limped to a close with a widely ignored Season 5.5 this March. Fuller House, one of the earlier sitcom revivals during the latest craze of reboots, quietly ended its run after four seasons on Netflix. And while negative reviews certainly dampened the party for those two, Will & Grace received steady acclaim when it returned in 2017, pulling in three Golden Globe nominations, seven Emmy nods, and two Emmys wins for its first two revival seasons. And yet NBC has already announced its 2020 season will be its last. Will & Grace finished 11th among 20 scripted series at the Peacock last season, losing nearly half its viewers from season-to-season and dropping from 10 million viewers for its Season 9 premiere to just under 3 million for its Season 10 finale. It’s been long-feared that these revivals half a short shelf-life, as viewers check back in to see how their old friends look, sound, and act, before remembering why they said goodbye in the first place. Maybe the quality dipped. Maybe a few key cast or crew members were lost. Maybe it was just time to say goodbye." Travers adds: "In addition to the ravenous fan base Roseanne brought to the table, The Conners does have at least one thing working for it: This show still attracts moderate-skewing viewers, or at least a mix of conservatives and liberals."

    TOPICS: The Conners, ABC, Arrested Development, Fuller House, Will & Grace, Revivals