Alan Carter
April 30, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Is Roseanne Arnold serious? Since her April 13 tantrum on The Tonight Show, Arnold has been threatening to take TV’s highest-rated sitcom to another network if ABC doesn’t renew The Jackie Thomas Show, starring her husband, Tom. ”She had people laughing here,” says an insider at Carsey-Werner, Roseanne‘s production company, ”but laughing at her. She’s only the star. She can’t dictate where the program runs. She doesn’t own the show. She’s just babbling, and if she refused to work, we could roll her into court. Look, no way is she going to give up the money.”

The Jackie show had one of the most desirable time slots on TV — following Roseanne — but it has proved a disappointment. It loses an unacceptable 30 percent of Roseanne‘s 31 million viewers. Despite Arnold’s contention that ABC’s execs ”never were there to support us,” ABC entertainment president Ted Harbert had fond words for Jackie a month ago, before the show’s lackluster ratings became obvious. ”I have high hopes for it,” he said. ”I also get a big kick out of my relationship with the Arnolds. It’s hard to get mad at people who have a passion for what they do.”

But at a press conference last week, ABC president Robert Iger had less glowing reviews for Jackie. ”I wouldn’t call it a failure under any circumstances,” he said, ”but I wouldn’t call it a success…. It was a decent performance. It wouldn’t be a disaster (to bring it back).”

ABC says it will announce a decision by mid-May, but ”if they renew [Jackie], it will look like they caved in,” says a leading producer. ”If they don’t, they risk offending their biggest star. It may very well happen that ABC will not cave — just to save face.” —With reporting by Bruce Fretts

You May Like