‘Roseanne’ revival helps ABC stage a comeback in the ratings

'Roseanne' revival helps ABC stage a comeback in the ratings
Roseanne Barr, left, and John Goodman appear in a scene from the comedy series “Roseanne.” The series, which returns for the second season of its revival next year, has been a hit for ABC. (Adam Rose / Associated Press)

The Walt Disney Co. broadcast network on Tuesday celebrated its successful reboots of “Roseanne” and the singing competition show “American Idol” with hundreds of advertisers who flocked to the David Geffen Hall in New York City for a peek at ABC’s new fall schedule.

Much of the credit goes to “Roseanne,” whose success has surprised some analysts. The show, which showcases a struggling working-class family, has averaged more than 19 million viewers an episode, outpacing “The Big Bang Theory” on CBS.

“The last time we had the No. 1 show was 24 years ago,” said Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC Television Group. “If anyone came to play a drinking game for how many times we mention ‘Roseanne’ — you’re welcome.”

The ABC sitcom, starring Roseanne Barr, is jockeying with NBC’s acclaimed family drama “This Is Us” for the crown as the highest-rated scripted show among 18- to 49-year-olds this season. In addition, ABC launched the season’s most popular new drama, “The Good Doctor.”

ABC and other networks are grappling with sweeping changes in the TV industry, including the loss of TV show hit-makers to Netflix. Media companies including Disney are aggressively searching for ways to compete against Netflix and other tech giants such as Amazon.com, Google and Facebook.

Disney has offered $52.4 billion to buy much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox company, including the FX and National Geographic cable channels, along with the prolific 20th Century Fox television and movie studios.

ABC has struggled over the years to create blockbuster shows beyond those produced by Shonda Rhimes, who announced last year that she was leaving her longtime ABC Studios home to join Netflix. For example, “The Good Doctor” originated at Sony Pictures Television, which co-produces the show with ABC. Returning sitcom “The Goldbergs” also is a Sony production, and…

Sasha Harriet

Sasha Harriet

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