“20/20” goes behind the scenes of “‘Roseanne’: The Return”

ABC(NEW YORK) — By all accounts, Sara Gilbert was the mastermind behind ABC’s upcoming reboot of Roseanne, not only getting the revival off the ground but also getting the entire cast on board. The story behind the revival is revealed on a special edition of ABC’s 20/20 titled “Roseanne: The Return,” airing Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET.

Roseanne premiered on ABC in October 1988, and Roseanne Barr’s blue-collar Conner family resonated strongly with America. The Emmy-winning show ran until 1997. 

Flash foward to March 2017: Gilbert, who played teen daughter Darlene on the show, and who now co-hosts on The Talk, was sitting on her old TV couch with her former TV dad, John Goodman, doing a Rosanne sketch.

On 20/20, Goodman says the moment “felt like gold…It was just like falling out of bed…it was so easy.”

From there, Goodman learned he wasn’t alone in feeling that spark. Three weeks later, after Gilbert had made the necessary calls and texts, a deal had been struck with ABC.

Roseanne said she’d told Gilbert that if Goodman was in, she’d be in. But, wary of any potential drama during production, Barr said she’d given Gilbert a list of things she needed in order to do the show without anxiety and stress.

“[Gilbert] said, ‘I can do it.’ And I said, ‘All right. Well, then, do it.’ And she did,” Barr explains.

The process was painless compared to the behind-the-scenes drama of the original show. Barr tells ABC News of the friction decades ago, “I fought too much, and too hard…But you know, it was just all one big fight. That’s how it felt.”

“I had several nervous breakdowns,” Roseanne says, adding with a smile, “But fortunately no one noticed.” 

The new season of Roseanne debuts March 27 on ABC.

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