Dim Prospects for Jussie Smollett

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Despite the dropping of the 16 felony counts with which he was charged by the Cook County, Illinois state’s attorney, “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett’s image and career prospects are still in jeopardy.

Currently, Smollett’s team is heavily engaged in the crisis management process, attempting to stop the decline of his public image. According to TMZ and other news outlets, offers of prospective roles have come to a halt since Smollett was arrested and charged with alleged involvement in orchestrating a hoax hate crime.

The actor, who for the time being remains a cast member of the television drama, is reportedly in pursuit of TV appearances so that he can tell his version of what happened and reverse the public relations slide.

Despite his claims of innocence, Smollett went from being viewed as a sympathetic victim to being perceived as a self-centered, morally challenged individual.

Because of the manner in which his criminal case has been jettisoned, he is now at the epicenter of a political corruption scandal, and as public outrage continues to grow he is even being compared to O.J. Simpson on social media, cable television, and talk radio.

There was recently an expectation that Smollett might attend the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP) Image Awards that took place this past weekend, but the actor was a no-show. Although he had been nominated for an award, he lost out on getting a win.

As an indicator of his standing within the culture, Smollett’s reputation has been taking a bruising of the comedic kind. During the NAACP awards show, when comedian Chris Rock was presenting the award for Outstanding Comedy Series, the presenter riffed on Smollett, despite having been instructed by the producers to avoid making the “Empire” actor a part of his humor.

“They said no Jussie Smollett jokes,” Rock said. “I know. What a waste of light skin. You know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here. F***ing running Hollywood.”

Rock then struck directly at Smollett’s credibility.

“What the h**l was he thinking?” Rock asked. “From now on, you’re Jessie from now on. You don’t even get the ‘U’ no more. That ‘U’ was respect. You don’t get no respect from me.”

Smollett was also the subject of punch lines during the most recent broadcast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” During a sketch on Weekend Update, Cecily Strong portrayed Fox News’ judicial star Jeanine Pirro.

“[President Trump] is getting rid of Jussie Smollett and he is bringing back Roseanne,” Strong, playing the character of Judge Jeanine, said.

“She [Roseanne] is getting a new show, The Barrs; it’s going to be Roseanne and William Barr…they are going to tell it like they see it, and they are going to take all the d**n Ambien they want, period.”

In another sketch, Smollett was in an imaginary meeting with his manager, the “Empire” executive producer, and TV executives to discuss his criminal case.

A MAGA hat wearing Chris Redd portrays Smollett, who claims that he was the victim of another attack. In an attempt to lend credence to his story, the Smollett character produces a box of Crest Whitestrips, three red letter Ks, a receipt, car keys, and a purple Teletubby.

Even though Smollett appears to have avoided a prosecution in Cook County, the actor is being investigated in a federal probe over whether he authored and mailed a hate-filled letter that arrived on the “Empire” set earlier this year. The letter contained bigoted invectives, a stick figure hanging from a tree, and a white powdery substance that echoed the anthrax letter attacks of 2001.

Federal charges, if brought, could expose Smollett to the possibility of spending 5-20 years behind bars.

“Jussie, you know we’ve got to fire you, right?” the executive producer character on SNL said during the sketch. The line may prove to be prophetic.

Despite supportive statements issued by the producers of “Empire” and Fox, Deadline reports that the actor is not expected to be a part of the series next season.

After the news broke that the charges against Smollett were inexplicably dropped, ratings for “Empire” fell to an all-time low, which was even lower than the debut episode this season that had slid 35 percent when compared to last year’s ratings.

Smollett has already been written out of the remaining episodes of the current fifth season. The actor’s option is up in June 2019. In the interim, the network and producers will determine whether to, as one source said, “cut their losses if need be” by choosing to renew “Empire” without Smollett’s inclusion.

‘Unplanned’ Is a Must-See for a Nation in Denial

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Hollywood loves to rally around a cause, but only as long as the cause is solidly in line with its accepted left-wing ideology. One cause that definitely isn’t, is the advocating of the right of an unborn baby to live.

“Unplanned,” a daring new movie that pays no attention to Hollywood’s roster of no-go subjects, has been fighting a constant uphill battle as it forges its way toward release day. Along the treacherous road it has had to traverse, it has been blocked from using certain music in its soundtrack, banned by a Christian radio network, and unfairly rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The movie boldly tells the true story of Abby Johnson, one of the youngest individuals in the country to ever have served as a Planned Parenthood clinic director.

After working at an abortion clinic for eight years and winning an “Employee of the Year” award, Abby had the enormously disturbing yet incredibly enlightening experience of having to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. What she witnessed was absolutely horrendous: a tiny baby inside the womb, who was in the struggle of his or her life, having to suffer through the gruesomeness of dismemberment.

Following the experience, Abby summoned up the courage necessary to leave her financially lucrative position and extensive employment stint. She walked away from the nation’s largest abortion provider and set out to launch a ministry that would help other former Planned Parenthood employees to transition out of abortion related work.

The writing and directing team of Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, who also wrote the screenplay for the film “God’s Not Dead,” understood the challenge that the latest movie project faced.

The hostility issue was driven home through the difficulties experienced in a previous pro-life film, “Roe v. Wade,” including an incident in which a significant part of the cast and crew abruptly left the project after learning of the script’s content.

While the casting of “Unplanned” was taking place, potential cast members were alerted by the directors that involvement with the film might mean that future work in the entertainment industry may be in jeopardy as a result of the movie’s content.

The film was shot in secret in Stillwater, Oklahoma. While on the set, the cast and crew used the code name “Redeemed” in order to keep the project under wraps and hold close to the vest the fact that they were making a film with the same title as Johnson’s memoir.

All of those working on the project were instructed not to reveal the movie’s content to the press or in any other manner disclose it on the Internet or on social media.

As the producers sought licensing rights for songs that they felt might assist the mood of certain scenes in the movie, they received the cold shoulder from the music industry. The required licensing was denied for a number of tunes, including Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party,” One Direction’s “Story of My Life,” The Fray’s “How to Save a Life,” and Trevor Rabin’s “The Guardian Suite.”

Additionally, the movie received some unexpected flack from a giant of the Christian world. K-Love is a Christian music radio network, which broadcasts on hundreds of stations in at least 47 states with markets that include New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. K-Love is also the sixth most online streamed station in the world. Essentially, the Christian music giant banned from its airwaves any promotion for “Unplanned.”

Abby was not at all happy with the network, expressing her displeasure in the following tweet: “Ever heard of the Christian radio station K-LOVE? Of course you have. They are huge, in just about every market. And, they are funded by their listeners. Well, here’s some news for you. K-LOVE has decided that they will not run any promos for my movie, Unplanned. So, a Christian radio network won’t advertise for a prolife movie. They have stated that they don’t want to promote anything ‘political.’”

In a wholly unfair and blatantly biased move, the MPAA informed the filmmakers that the organization planned to give the movie the “R” rating rather than a “PG-13” one, unless the visual depictions of abortion were edited out of the film.

It surely is not lost by anyone who pays attention to the movie ratings system that a “PG-13” rating, as opposed to “R” rating, is routinely handed out to films that include in their content profanity, gratuitous violence, and/or sexually explicit material.

Abby wrote an open letter to parents across America to make sure that they understood “Unplanned” is free from profanity or sexual content. In the letter, she describes a scene, which depicts what she saw on the ultrasound screen – images that transformed her life and redirected her path.

“You will see what I saw: a baby on an ultrasound screen in black and white 2D. You will see the abortion instrument, which looks like a big straw in real life and like a dark line on the ultrasound, introduced onto the screen. You will see the baby struggle against it. You will see the baby first slowly, then quickly disappear into the instrument as it does what it is designed to do,” Abby wrote.

A second scene that Abby cited as a reason for the “R” rating is one that she indicated was a re-creation of her experience with the abortion pill.

“I won’t lie to you; that scene shows some blood. In real life I hemorrhaged so badly I thought I was going to die. The movie captures that without being gratuitous or gory,” Abby wrote.

The MPAA has denied that it assigned the rating due to political bias. However, the group’s decision has resulted in a scenario in which a teenage girl can obtain an actual abortion without her parent’s permission, but the same teenage girl is not allowed admission into a theater, minus the supervision of an adult, to view a film that includes a scene that merely depicts the real life procedure.

The March 29 premiere of “Unplanned” is right around the corner.

In honor of all the babies who have had to endure the procedure that Abby witnessed and worse, let’s all go see “Unplanned,” and perhaps we can escort some teens and other youth who are secondary victims in this whole abortion tragedy.

‘SNL’ Apology Is the Real Deal

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This past weekend “Saturday Night Live” showed how an apology is done.

Producer Lorne Michaels, cast member Pete Davidson, and writers of the show expressed their sincere contrition for the wrong committed during the previous week’s show. In an interesting sidebar to “SNL”’s faux pas and subsequent public apology, it looks as though a new GOP figure has emerged with a future as bright as the stars.

Dan Crenshaw, a veteran of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, ran for Congress in the recent mid-term elections in a district in Houston, Texas. The former Navy SEAL wears an eye patch, because his right eye was lost as a result of an I.E.D. explosion that took place in Afghanistan while he was serving the nation.

Crenshaw was the object of vicious “SNL” ridicule, when, during the “Weekend Update” segment of the show, Davidson, displayed a picture of him with his eye patch intact and said, “You may be surprised to hear he’s a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hit man in a porno movie.”

“I’m sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever,” Davidson added with a smirk.

Three days after being mocked on “SNL,” the congressional GOP candidate won his election by a resounding 8 point margin. During his victory speech, Crenshaw acknowledged the “SNL” swipe at him, saying, “I’m from the SEAL teams. We don’t really get offended.”

The following day, in an appearance on “Fox & Friends,” the representative-elect was asked about the “SNL” skit, and he shared that it may have helped him secure a victory in the election.

“I have to imagine it probably helped. There are a lot of veterans out there who would not think their wounds would be the source of poor jokes in bad taste to a hysterically laughing audience,” Crenshaw said.

After the segment aired, Michaels, Davidson, and “SNL” received sharp criticism from folks on both sides of the political aisle. Davidson’s comments were even denounced by fellow “SNL” cast member Kenan Thompson, who in an appearance on “The View” said, “It’s never somewhere I would go, in the offense territory towards veterans, because my father is one.”

“They’re figuring out a way to right that wrong, I’m pretty sure,” Thompson added.

The “SNL” producers and writers proved Thompson correct by coming up with a way to express the show’s regret to Crenshaw in a manner that was humorous, effective, and inspiring.

Davidson once again took to the “Weekend Update” desk, this time saying, “In what I’m sure was a huge shock for people who know me, I made a poor choice last week.”

He continued, “I mean this from the bottom of my heart. It was a poor choice of words. The man is a war hero, and he deserves all the respect in the world. And if any good came of this, maybe it was that for one day, the left and the right finally came together to agree on something. That I’m a [expletive].”

Suddenly, in a surprise cameo Crenshaw appeared in a seat next to Davidson and said, “You think?”

Davidson then thanked him for coming, to which Crenshaw cracked, “Thanks for making a Republican look good.”

After Davidson offered his face-to-face apology, Crenshaw graciously accepted it. Immediately, the congressman-elect’s cell phone began ringing with the distinct sound of an Ariana Grande ringtone. The rub is that Grande happens to be Davidson’s former fiancée.

Crenshaw was then afforded the opportunity to have even more fun at Davidson’s expense. As unflattering pictures of Davidson were displayed, Crenshaw, with impeccable timing and stand-up flair, delivered the following punch lines:

“He looks like if the meth from Breaking Bad was a person.”

“He looks like a troll doll with a tapeworm.”

“Pete looks like Martin Short in The Santa Clause 3.”

“By the way, one of these people was actually good on ‘SNL.’”

Davidson acted as though he was taking the tough ribbing in stride, but the whole thing was, of course, pre-planned. However, the final portion of the segment turned out to be serious and quite compelling.

Crenshaw displayed formidable statesman-like skills as he spoke about how “Americans can forgive one another.”

“We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other,” he noted.

He also referenced Veterans Day and encouraged the audience to express their respect and gratitude to our veterans, especially through the use of one particular phrase.

As Crenshaw explained, “When you say ‘never forget’ to a veteran, you are implying that, as an American, you are in it with them — not separated by some imaginary barrier between civilians and veterans, but connected together as grateful fellow Americans who will never forget the sacrifices made by veterans past and present.”

In a touching reference to Davidson’s loss of his own father, who was a New York firefighter and first responder on that tragic Sept. 11 day, Crenshaw said, “… never forget those we lost on 9/11, heroes like Pete’s [Davidson] father. So I’ll just say, Pete, never forget.”

“Never forget,” Davidson said, as the two shook hands.

Davidson then turned to the audience and said, “And that is from both of us!”

At that moment, if you listened with your heart you could hear the echoes of the sentiment resonate across our land: #NeverForget.

Bono Talks with Pope Francis about Economics, Environmentalism, and the Church Scandal

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It is not easy to obtain a meeting with the Pope, but U2’s front man was somehow able to pull it off.

Pope Francis is the current leader of the Catholic Church. But he is also a head of state, with all of the power, influence, and interconnection with governments across the globe that goes along with being the Bishop of Rome.

At this critical time when Pope Francis is under unprecedented scrutiny, due to unanswered allegations that he knowingly protected a sexually abusive cardinal and additionally had a role in defending a clerical sex offender in Argentina, one might assume that the Pope’s schedule was being highly scrutinized by Vatican officials. Assumptions, though, often lead to mistaken conclusions, which may well be the case in this instance.

Puzzlingly, Paul David Hewson, a.k.a. Bono, lead singer of the rock group U2, was granted a meeting with the pontiff, which reportedly lasted for at least 30 minutes. At the meeting, which took place at the Casa Santa Marta hotel where Pope Francis maintains his residence, the rock singer and the Holy Father are said to have discussed topics ranging from capitalism and the environment to the clerical sex abuse scandal.

Well known as an adherent to the Christian faith, Bono is the son of a Protestant father and Catholic mother. He grew up in Ireland, a place where in the not so distant past Protestants and Catholics took up arms against one another; this was happening at the same time that the rock singer was coming of age.

Bono has actually discussed his belief in Jesus in a number of media interviews over the years. He was, however, highly criticized in Spring of 2018 by Christians of all stripes.

It was during this time period that Bono and his U2 band mates were publicly seeking to bring about the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, an action that would ultimately lead to abortion-on-demand becoming the law of the land in the Emerald Isle.

U2 upset a sizable portion of its fan base as well as millions of pro-life adherents around the world on May 1, 2018, when it tweeted a heart-shaped graphic that read “Repeal the 8th.” The tweet essentially urged Twitter followers and fans to cast a vote for abortion in the Irish referendum. The Catholic Church was firmly opposed to the country’s proposed legalization of the life-ending procedure.

It seemed to many at the time that Bono had set aside his Christian beliefs and abandoned the vulnerable pre-born. On May 25, 2018, after all advocates, including Bono and his band, had completed their roles, the Irish people voted to repeal the constitutional amendment that had previously secured for pre-born babies the fundamental right to life.

This is why, for so many people, the sight of a sunglass-wearing rock star briefing reporters following a papal meeting was so surreal.

After his audience with the Pope, Bono addressed the Vatican press corps. Not mentioning whether his role in promoting the legalization of abortion in Ireland had been discussed, he noted that he had spoken with the pontiff about capitalism as well as about other issues in which the two shared a common interest.

Bono indicated to journalists that he and the Pope had discussed sustainable development, climate change, and the need for an equal distribution of the Earth’s resources.

“We have to re-think the wild beast that is capitalism,” the multimillionaire explained. “Although it is not immoral, it is amoral and it requires our instruction and he [Pope Francis] is very keen on that.”

Bono then revealed that a topic the two had discussed involved one about which the Pope has chosen to remain silent, i.e., the recent revelations regarding a multitude of sexual abuse allegations against the clergy of the Catholic Church.

Regarding the sex abuse scandal, Bono said, “I explained how it looks to some people like the abusers are being more protected than the victims, and you could see the pain in his face,” the U2 lead singer said, adding, “I thought he was sincere.”

In 2018 new allegations surfaced against the Catholic Church, which indicated that major church figures had protected priests who were accused of sexually abusing children, and Pope Francis himself was brought directly into the scandal.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, who previously served as the Vatican’s ambassador to the United States, accused the current pope of having knowledge of the serious accusations against former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, who was accused of taking sexual advantage of young seminarians.

Archbishop Viganò asserts that Pope Francis “knew from at least June 23, 2013, that Cardinal McCarrick was a serial predator.” He further asserts that instead of the Pope holding Cardinal McCarrick accountable, he shielded him and made him a trusted counselor.

Pope Francis has not yet publicly responded to the allegations. In August 2018, when the Pope was asked about the subject by reporters, he replied, “I will say sincerely that I must say this, to you and all of you who are interested: Read the document carefully and judge it for yourselves.”

“When a little time has passed and you have the conclusions, perhaps I will talk,” the Pope added.

The issues discussed by Pope Francis and Bono have worldwide political, economic, and ethical implications.

It is odd, to say the least, that Pope Francis’s communications on such serious matters would have come to the international public square via a publicist in celebrity clothing.

Rebel Comics Rock, Seinfeld, Allen, Miller, and Brooks Speak Out

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Chris Rock has recently been attacked by the left because he tweeted some words of praise for his comedic colleague Jerry Seinfeld.

In his tweet, the comedian and filmmaker included a link to an article from The Federalist, titled “Seinfeld’s ‘Comedians In Cars’ Is A Welcome Respite From The Insufferable Wokeness Of Comedy.”

“Wokeness,” or the abbreviated “woke,” is the term that is being used by the so-called resistance movement to describe an individual or group’s commitment to oppose President Donald Trump.

Author of the article Ellie Bufkin argues that the value in Seinfeld’s show is that its emphasis on being funny, as opposed to actively engaging in leftist political messaging, “has created a wonderful escape from the political insanity of our day…”

As pointed out in the article, Seinfeld had been chastised by the Vulture website and others for not inserting “woke” politics into his show. Bufkin and Rock were essentially commending Seinfeld for not joining the ranks of the numerous late-night Trump bashers who in today’s cultural climate are delivering patently predictable comedy to their audiences night after night.

Further infuriating the left, Rock concluded his tweet with the following words: “Thank God for Jerry.”

Meanwhile comedic actor Tim Allen told Entertainment Weekly that the current politically correct restrictions imposed on public expression are posing an actual danger for comedians.

“It’s a very icy time. I’ve been a comedian for 38 years and I’ve never seen it, like Lenny Bruce said at the Purple Onion, ‘we’ve gone backwards,’” said Allen, whose series “Last Man Standing” is set for a return to television in September on FOX.

“There are things you can’t say. There are things you shouldn’t say. Who makes up these rules? And as a stand-up comic, it’s a dangerous position to be in because I like pushing buttons. It’s unfortunate,” Allen added.

Humor is an important relief valve for individuals as well as the whole of society, and in a cathartic manner allows people to observe new and differing perspectives on potentially polarizing topics. It is therefore critically important to examine the left’s penchant for weaponizing identity politics and the degree to which the strategy has resulted in the serious side effect of silencing laughter itself.

Human response to comedy is uniquely spontaneous. Comedian, actor, and best-selling author Dennis Miller wrote, “Laughter is one of the great beacons in life because we don’t defract it by gunning it through our intellectual prism. What makes us laugh is a mystery — an involuntary response.”

Today’s late-night comedians are often comfortable operating joke free, no longer seeking laughs but instead pursuing applause via material that panders to their like-minded niche audiences. In the same interview in which Rock told New York Magazine that he gave up performing at colleges due to hyper-political correctness on campuses, he talked about the manner in which technology and social media spur comedians to censor their own material.

Stand-up practitioners have a particularly pressing need to try out their material before exposing it to a larger audience.

“It is scary, because the thing about comedians is that you’re the only ones who practice in front of a crowd. Prince doesn’t run a demo on the radio. But in stand-up, the demo gets out. There are a few guys good enough to write a perfect act and get onstage, but everybody else workshops it and workshops it, and it can get real messy. It can get downright offensive,” Rock said.

The prevalence of smart phones, which have the capacity to record and share, has altered the way reactions to stand-up presentations are communicated.

“Before everyone had a recording device and was wired…, you’d say something that went too far, and you’d go, ‘Oh, I went too far,’ and you would just brush it off. But if you think you don’t have room to make mistakes, it’s going to lead to safer, gooier stand-up. You can’t think the thoughts you want to think if you think you’re being watched,” Rock added.

In comedy clubs back in the day, when members of an audience were offended, they simply got up and left the club. Today if someone does not like a joke, the outrage over the offending material can easily be spread in geometric fashion to an enormous number of people via social media.

Social media at the present time is extremely unfriendly to any attempts at being funny that do not fit within the strict parameters of the politically correct crowd, who are on an endless hunt for PC violators. With the advent of Twitter mobs, some of which are artificially enhanced, humor is routinely being re-labeled as hate speech.

In a recent interview with the U.K. Telegraph, legendary filmmaker Mel Brooks warned the world that society’s “stupidly politically correct” sensibilities will lead to the “death of comedy.” Brooks explained that political correctness is “not good for comedy,” since “comedy has to walk a thin line, take risks.”

Surprisingly, Brooks believes that his iconic western parody “Blazing Saddles” could not co-exist with the current climate because it has a racial theme within the plotline.

Once upon a time rational people discussed whether or not humorous content had crossed into the territory of being too offensive.

Today, however, with digital monitoring, persecution via social media, and the constant addition of favored groups that can never be the subject of comedic material, humor is in danger of becoming extinct.

‘Roseanne’ without Roseanne Barr?

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After Disney and ABC gave Roseanne Barr the severest of penalties for her ill-fated tweet by canceling her television show “Roseanne,” sources indicate that the ABC brass are now looking into the idea of continuing the sitcom in some fashion without Barr.

TMZ first reported the following: “The powers that be at ABC are exploring the possibility of re-branding the show and focusing on the character Darlene instead of Roseanne.”

A pitch meeting is set to take place between the producers of “Roseanne” and Disney ABC executives on June 4 to explore a revival of the “Roseanne” reboot with a new name minus the show’s namesake.

The key individuals that have been pursuing the continuation of the sitcom include co-star and executive producer Sara Gilbert, showrunner and executive producer Bruce Helford, and executive producer Tom Werner.

Gilbert was the driving force behind the initial “Roseanne” reboot. Helford was the co-creator and executive producer of “The Drew Carey Show” as well as the executive producer and writer for the original “Roseanne” during season five of the series. Werner co-founded the Carsey-Werner Company and was executive producer of the original “Roseanne,” along with “The Cosby Show,” “A Different World,” “3rd Rock from the Sun,” and “That 70s Show.”

Even if ABC greenlights a revival of a reboot, financial and legal obstacles may end up thwarting its plans. Carsey-Werner owns the lion’s share of the rights to “Roseanne.” However, Barr was the co-creator and executive producer of the show and has contractual financial interests in the series.

ABC is aware of the fact that a competing network faced a similar problem when it removed the lead actor from a top sitcom. Charlie Sheen was fired from “Two and a Half Men” in 2011, and Ashton Kutcher became the star of the show. Sheen also possessed contractual financial interests in the show and filed a $100 million lawsuit to pursue those interests, which concluded with a settlement of $25 million.

Barr has indicated via her Twitter account that she is thinking about fighting back against the cancellation of her reboot. Depending on the provisions in her contract, she may be able to legally challenge the attempt to create a spinoff that has the same characters and similar plotlines.

Disney ABC attorneys could even find themselves working overtime to negotiate a buyout of Roseanne’s rights in order to move forward with a project without her.

Another significant challenge involves the cast. Key members may not wish to be associated with the show or may have conflicting projects. Actors need to know that a project is real so that they can reserve time on their calendars.

It would be crucial for the producer to secure co-stars John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf for the new project. Goodman is a sought after character actor, and Metcalf just snagged an Oscar nomination for “Lady Bird” and is additionally doing well on Broadway. The aforementioned Gilbert has her continuing spot on CBS’s “The Talk” to protect.

The writing staff would have to be contracted as well. Ironically, on the very same day that ABC cancelled “Roseanne,” the writers had gathered at the studio lot to begin work on the upcoming season.

Despite the cancellation, ABC and Carsey-Werner reportedly have a contractual obligation to pay key cast members and writers for the upcoming season on a 10-episode guarantee, which provides an incentive to revive the series reboot.

There are other shows that have continued on following the departure of their lead actors. Current streaming programs “House of Cards” and “Transparent” have both made the transition following the removal of their respective stars Kevin Spacey and Jeffrey Tambor.

An example often cited by industry experts is one from the 1980s. A successful sitcom, “Valerie,” starred Valerie Harper as a career mother, who along with a somewhat invisible airline pilot husband is raising her three sons. After Harper had a dispute with the show’s producers, she was written out of the series. Sandy Duncan joined the cast as the boys’ aunt, who moved in and became their de facto parent. The series was renamed “Valerie’s Family: The Hogans,” which was later shortened to “The Hogan Family.”

However, the unprecedented success of the “Roseanne” reboot differs from the run-of-the-mill television project. Barr had built a sizable reservoir of conventional fandom during her syndication run of 25 years. What gave the reboot such exceptional impetus was the bond that she shares with millions of people, many of whom voted for President Trump, who were chiefly responsible for the phenomenal ratings of the show and who managed to transform a television debut into a cultural event.

A “Roseanne” series without Roseanne may initially draw the curious. But without the show’s comedic and cultural core cast member, it would likely end up as a shadow of its former self.

Disney Stunned as ‘Solo’ Stumbles at the Box Office

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The “Star Wars” franchise has been a sure winner for Disney, well worth the $4 billion the studio paid for Lucasfilm in 2012.

When a “Star Wars” movie is released, it is nothing short of a spectacular event accompanied by an interstellar performance at the box office, but not this time.

Box-office proceeds of the latest “Star Wars” installment, “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” has hit Disney executives hard, with a lower than expected three-day opening of $84.7 million and a projected four-day opening of $103 million; all this while the movie carried a production budget of over $250 million.

The “Solo” results were 46 percent lower than the previous “Star Wars” release, “Rogue One,” causing

Lucasfilm and Disney to reexamine the management of the “Star Wars” asset.

The overseas performance thus far for “Solo” has been an abysmal $65 million, including a tepid take of $10.1 million in box-office receipts in China. Since foreign box office can be up to 70 percent of a studio release’s overall gross revenue, “Solo” will likely bring in a far lower proportion of overseas money, so Disney has to be concerned that the film will not come close to the more than $1 billion in global gross that “Rogue One” delivered.

“Solo” tells the story of the younger days of iconic character Hans Solo, from the original “Star Wars” movie. The lead character was so deeply defined into the cultural memory by Harrison Ford that it posed an extremely difficult casting job.

Alden Ehrenreich has some very big shoes to fill, and it is safe to say that no actor could recreate the roguish character that the world came to love in the original “Star Wars” trilogy.

Movie experts cite a number of reasons for the latest “Star Wars” film’s lack of box-office energy, including politically correct plotlines, weak directing, poor casting, and “Star Wars” weariness.

As to the fatigue factor, it does not help that “Solo” was released a mere five months after another “Star Wars” movie, “The Last Jedi.”

Disney seems to have learned its lesson on the timing of releases and will probably avoid premiering “Star Wars” sequels, reboots, or spin-offs more than once per year.

The Mouse House is run by some of the most effective business people in the entertainment world. Last year the studio changed the release date of the upcoming “Star Wars” installment, “Episode IX,” from Memorial Day to December of 2019.

When it comes to the “Star Wars” series, year-end releases have been very good for the studio. “Force Awakens,” “Rogue One,” and “The Last Jedi” were all released during the Christmas season. Each movie brought in revenue in the $1 billion range and ended up being the top box-office performers during the year in which the movie release took place.

Disney execs also wisely brought back J.J. Abrams, who directed 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” to co-write and direct the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode IX.”

Ron Howard had been tapped by the studio at the production’s halfway point to direct “Solo” after Christopher Miller and Phil Lord left the project.

As an enterprise, Disney has so many other film irons in the fire that it will easily weather the “Solo” disappointment. The company’s Marvel franchise offering, “Avengers: Infinity War,” has at the time of this writing accumulated a box-office bonanza of $622 million domestically and $1.9 billion worldwide.

The family friendly “Incredibles 2” will be released June 15, 2018, and is projected to open in the $130 million range.

Most importantly for “Star Wars” fans, the next scheduled release of a “Star Wars” movie is not until December of 2019.

Like the proverbial football coach at the half, Disney will have the time to determine what went wrong with “Solo” and make the necessary adjustments to its strategic thinking regarding its revered “Star Wars” franchise.