President Donald Trump personally called Roseanne Barr on Wednesday to congratulate her on the blockbuster premiere of her eponymous show, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told The New York Times.
Barr plays a Trump supporter in “Roseanne,” a revival of the popular 90s sitcom of the same name, which premiered on Tuesday evening to a whopping 18.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen. In comparison, revivals for hit shows American Idol and Will and Grace drew an average of just over 10 million for their season debuts.
The sitcom features a working-class family of five and several relatives. Barr’s character, Roseanne Conner, is the household’s matriarch. The character’s sister is a Hillary Clinton supporter.
Barr said that she decided to turn her character into a Trump supporter because it reflected the preferences of many Americans. Barr, herself, is a vocal Trump supporter on screen and off.
Trump congratulated Barr and thanked her for her support.
“I just wanted to have that dialogue about families torn apart by the election and their political differences of opinion and how we handle it,” Barr told the Times. “I thought that this was an important thing to say at this time.”
The original Roseanne went on air in 1988 and ran until 1997. The show became one of the most successful sitcoms of all time.
The show’s revival two decades later brings politics into the fold, but Barr feels her character’s support of Trump is a reflection the times.
“I’ve always had it be a true reflection of the society we live in,” Barr said at a Television Critics Association event in January. “Half the country voted for him, half of them didn’t. It’s just realistic.”
If “Roseanne” continues to draw as it did in its premiere, it could become a top-rated show of the 2017-18 TV season. The current ratings winner, “This Is US,” has a 5.3 rating. “Roseanne” is slightly behind with 5.1.
Barr was a liberal in the past. Liberal television host Jimmy Kimmel asked about her change of heart.
“I’m shocked, because I know you were a very socially liberal person in general,” he said.
“I’m still the same—you all moved. You all went so [expletive] far out you lost everybody,” she said. “A lot of us, no matter who we voted for, we don’t want to see our president fail.”
ABC aired two episodes of “Roseanne” on Tuesday. The first half-hour episode started at 8 p.m. and had an average of 17.7 million viewers. The second episode kicked off at 8:30 and drew an average of 18.6 million viewers.
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