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Tuned In: Roseanne raises the Barr on reality

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

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 set as quickly as it rose.

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 hell 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 Monday, 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 Pentland, 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 approval of final cut in "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 who I was, 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."

Making nice

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 Monday 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 upfront approach. He acknowledged ABC's plan for fall 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. "We're not about to try to convince you that there is, because there isn't."

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.

Dubba Duo done

WCWB's young on-air spokespeople, Dan Burda and Lacy Thomas, are no longer with the station. The so-called "Dubba Duo" had a one-year contract, according to station manager Alan Frank, and no decision has been made about hiring replacements.

"It's on hold for now," Frank said. "We're not sure if that's permanent or temporary."

He said Burda, who was featured on CBS's "Star Search" earlier this year, has moved to Los Angeles.

Thomas said she turned down a contract offer from the station. Frank said there were no contract negotiations.

Post-Gazette TV editor Rob Owen is attending the Television Critics Association summer press tour. You can reach him at 412-263-2582 orrowen@post-gazette.com .

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