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HOLLYWOOD - Roseanne the sitcom was a hit. Roseanne the comedian/actress/executive producer turned out to be a disaster. What with the crotch grabbing at a baseball game, a reputation for firing writers, and a penchant for marrying and divorcing men in short order, Roseanne Barr saw her star rise as quickly as it set.
This year she returns to television with two series. ABC's The Real Roseanne Show (9 p.m. Aug. 6) chronicles the making of Domestic Goddess, a cooking/lifestyle show set to air on ABC Family Channel this fall.
In the same genre as The Anna Nicole Show or I'm With Busey, The Real Roseanne shows Barr at her, um, strangest, seeking spiritual advice from what she calls “my rabbis” and picking an executive producer for Domestic Goddess based on “face reading.”
“I had no luck [in the past] with a resume, so I thought, why the [heck] not?” she said. “It's all kind of the same thing.”
Human resources managers probably wouldn't agree, but Barr has never been particularly interested in whether or not people agree with her.
“It's my show, so don't even come back and say you have a better idea,” Barr says in The Real Roseanne Show.
At an ABC press conference this week, a relatively subdued Barr said she's learned over the years to “keep my big mouth shut.”
“I shot my mouth off all over the place and it always came back to bite me in the butt by, you know, canceled show and other bad relationships,” Barr said.
Now she seeks to make amends.
“I have a lot of regrets for how I reacted in coming from a place of fear and the knee-jerk things that hurt a lot of people,” she said after the press conference. “I don't want to die an [expletive]”
In addition to Barr, The Real Roseanne Show will feature her first ex-husband, Bill, and his wife, Becky, who now work as Barr's personal assistants. Her children often appear, as does “Drew, the one writer whom she's never fired,” according to press notes.
Executive producer R.J. Cutler said Barr's spiritual journey will be an undercurrent in the series.
“I have hundreds of rabbis,” Barr said. “They help me to stay real clear, you know. I don't know exactly what it is they do. I just like the stuff they say. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I can stay positive in a kind of crazy space.”
Barr said she had the right to approve the final cut of The Real Roseanne Show but only asked Cutler to edit out one word, “a bad word I shouldn't have said in conjunction with something else. I've left most of the bad things I've done in there.”
She's gone back to using Barr as her surname because she had only “Roseanne” on her passport, which caused her trouble while traveling in France.
“I thought they would, like, remember me, but they don't,” she said. “I was in Paris and so they detained me for several hours and asked me why I only had one name, and I was screaming, `I'm a huge star.' So then I saw this American and I go, `Could you tell these people who I am?' He goes, `It's Rosie O'Donnell.'”
Barr realizes revealing herself in a reality show will likely add new ammunition to theories about her, but she seems unfazed by that prospect.
“I am screwed up, but at least I know it,” she said. “I think that's what puts me above almost everybody else.”
ABC executives have decided to try a new game plan.
After recent press tours in which ABC Entertainment president Susan Lyne has said critics expect too much from television and “groundbreaking and provocative is not necessarily what the network audience is looking for when they come home after a long day,” Lyne has changed her tune.
“Let me just say that that's probably one of those comments that I said that I didn't love reading myself quoted as having said,” Lyne said after encouraging critics to express their opinions to her “one on one” during ABC's two days of presentations.
Even ABC Television Entertainment Group chairman Lloyd Braun took a more up-front approach. He acknowledged that ABC's plan to move The Wonderful World of Disney to 8 p.m. Saturday leading into L.A. Dragnet at 10 p.m. does not create a block of complementary programming.
“You should know that we have not felt, and do not feel now, that there's any flow to that,” Braun said.
Back to `Blue'
Former NYPD Blue star Kim Delaney, who returned to the cop drama for a May sweeps episode, will show up again for a four-episode arc in the upcoming season.
One of the best moves in the second season of Smallville was the decision to use the John Williams “Superman” theme in key mythology-building scenes of the series. Executive producer Alfred Gough said producers got lucky they could afford to use the theme.
“It was recorded in England and it was much easier to get because you don't have to pay as much in royalties,” Gough said. “If it was recorded in L.A., you have to pay every musician who worked on it. That was a lucky break for us.”
In addition to continuing to grow the mythology of young Clark Kent's story, Gough said, the third season will first have to clean up the mess from the season finale, that showed a red Kryptonite-influenced Clark (Tom Welling) riding a motorcycle to Metropolis. Season three will pick up three months later and will introduce a character from the comics, Morgan Edge, leader of the Metropolis Intergang crime syndicate.
Unlikely as it may seem, Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum) will apparently survive the season finale plane crash.
“Most people don't survive tornadoes either,” Gough said, referring to the first season finale.
Although there has been talk of introducing young Bruce Wayne, Gough said that might not happen because Warner Bros. plans another Batman film.
The Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rob Owen, who is on the Television Critics Association Press Tour, is the TV editor for the Post-Gazette.