Eric McCandless, American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.
A sudden turn of events forces the Conners to face the daily struggles of life in Lanford in a way they never have before, on the ABC series premiere of "The Conners."

SALT LAKE CITY — ABC’s new spinoff sitcom “The Conners” delivered worse ratings than its predecessor, “Roseanne,” did last year.

What happened: “The Conners” — which is considered to be “Roseanne” without Roseanne — earned 10.5 million viewers with a 2.3 rating among adults ages 18 to 49, according to TV By The Numbers, which monitors viewership for TV shows.

  • That’s a 55 percent drop-off from the “Roseanne” debut last fall, which saw 18.2 million viewers and a 5.1 rating for the same demographic.
  • However, it’s about the same as the “Roseanne” finale earlier this year, which earned 10.3 million viewers and a 2.4 rating.
  • “The Conners” outranked NBC’s “This Is Us” Tuesday night, though.
  • “ABC did not expect ‘Roseanne’ premiere-level numbers, of course. Internal industry marketing research suggested audience interest in the spinoff was tracking about half that of viewer interest in ‘Roseanne’ before its return,” according to Entertainment Weekly.

Reminder: ABC canceled “Roseanne” after Roseanne Barr tweeted racist comments about former President Barack Obama aide Valerie Jarrett. ABC later announced the creation of “The Conners.”

Flashback: Just last year, “Roseanne” had a monster debut with a back-to-back, two-episode premiere that garnered 18.2 million viewers for the first episode and 18.6 million for the second.

  • The reboot had “the highest-rated regularly scheduled scripted show of the last few seasons … as well as the highest-rated sitcom broadcast in over three years,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
  • At the time, Barr told “Good Morning America” that President Donald Trump watched the comedy and called her to celebrate its monster debut.
  • “It was pretty exciting, I'll tell you that much,” Barr said during a phone call with “Good Morning America.” “They said, 'Hold please for the president of the United States of America' and (that) was about the most exciting thing ever. It was just very sweet of him to congratulate us.
  • “I've known him for many years and he's done a lot of nice things for me over the years,” she continued. “It was just a friendly conversation about working and television and ratings. He really understands ratings and how they measure things.”

For ABC: The show’s debut represents what could be a tough year for ABC.

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“ABC has had some rough sledding this season. The network understandably axed its top comedy ‘Roseanne’ due to Barr’s tweets in May but also less understandably canceled ‘Last Man Standing’ — which Fox picked up and is now using it to easily pummel every other show on Friday night. In the overall ratings so far this fall, ABC has slipped into fourth place behind Fox (and that’s even if you take the sports coverage that boosts ABC’s rivals out of the equation),” according to Entertainment Weekly.