Another classic celebrity is returning to television, and coming to NBC, too. Hot on the heels -- more or less -- of Michael J. Fox's return to NBC in his still untitled sitcom, it was announced on Thursday that Rosanne Barr will return to television, to NBC, as well.
Barr will executive produce the series along with Steven Greener, with whom she teamed for "Roseanne's Nuts." The series was a Lifetime combination reality show/docudrama that aired from July 13, 2011, to Sept. 16, 2011. The show focused on Roseanne Barr, her partner Johnny Argent and son Jake Pentland living on their macadamia nut and livestock farm in Hawaii. Celebrity guests included Bonnie Bramlett, Michael Fishman, Phyllis Diller and Sandra Bernhard.
For NBC, the deal was sweetened by Barr agreeing to guest star in a three-episode arc on NBC's "The Office" as talent agent Carla Fern. In that role, she will help Andy Bernard (played by Ed Helms) pursue the career in show business he has always dreamed of. That arc began filming this week. This is the final season of "The Office."
It's a seeming victory for Barr after a loss last year. NBC picked up her "Downwardly Mobile" pilot last January, but never ordered a series. "Downwardly Mobile" was a multi-camera comedy starring Barr and her "Roseanne" co-star John Goodman. She would have played a trailer park operator, hence the name.
Just as with Michael J. Fox -- though perhaps without as much risk, considering the up-again, down-again, up-again fortunes of Barr's career, NBC is gambling that a past TV icon can return to similar success. "Roseanne" aired on ABC for nearly a decade (Oct. 18, 1988 – May 20, 1997) and was one of the top TV shows in the country for most of those years. From 1989 to 1990 it was the country's top show, and it was in the top four for six of its nine seasons. It was also in the top twenty for eight seasons out of nine.
In 2002, TV Guide named it one of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time.