Roseanne spinoff The Conners is set to debut in October without Roseanne Barr — whose racist tweet forced ABC to cancel the Roseanne revival in May — and star Emma Kenney says she’s “so excited” to reprise her part as Harris Conner Healy.
“The first table read was great,” the 18-year-old tells Us Weekly exclusively. “It was so nice to see everyone, and I’m so happy. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
According to Kenney, it wasn’t hard for the cast to get back into the swing of production in Barr’s absence.
“I think that all of us are very professional,” the actress explains. “And there’s just so many more stories that need to be told through the Conner family and so many other different aspects of life that we’re going to get to tell, and I’m really excited and grateful for that.”
Kenney, who’s also known for her long-standing role on Shameless, was one of the celebrities who spoke out against the tweet in which Barr compared former government official Valerie Jarrett to an ape. “I am hurt, embarrassed, and disappointed,” Kenney tweeted on May 29. “The racist and distasteful comments from Roseanne are inexcusable.”
Following the controversy, ABC ordered a 10-episode season of The Conners in June. The spinoff marks a chance for Kenney to continue the story of her character, the rebellious daughter of Darlene Conner and David Healy.
So what does Kenney hope for Harris? “We saw in the last season her struggling, having moved from Chicago to a small town with her family, so I’m just really hoping that Harris will find more connections within her family,” she tells Us.
The Conners premieres on ABC on Tuesday, October 16, at 8 p.m. ET.
With reporting by Emily Marcus