March 29, 2018 / 9:05 PM / 21 days ago

'It was about us': Trump seizes on 'Roseanne' ratings

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday latched onto the huge viewership for the revival of ABC’s hit 1990s working-class comedy “Roseanne” as evidence that his supporters want shows that speak to their concerns.

FILE PHOTO: Actress Roseanne Barr reacts as she arrives at the 75th Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., January 7, 2018. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo

“Look at her ratings,” Trump said during a speech near Cleveland, referring to the comedy’s star and his vocal supporter, Roseanne Barr. “They were unbelievable. ... and it was about us.”

The show, in which Barr plays a blue-collar Trump voter, debuted on Tuesday and performed best in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Cincinnati, Ohio, and Kansas City, Missouri, respectively, all in states that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

New York City and Los Angeles were not in the top 20 of rated areas, according to entertainment trade publication Deadline.

Trump called Barr on Wednesday to congratulate her on the show’s debut that drew more than 18 million viewers.

Barr said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday that she hoped the series, which wades into the divisiveness of U.S. politics, would help people “agree to disagree.”

“I really hope that it opens up civil conversation instead of just mudslinging,” said Barr, who supports the Republican president.

“He’s just happy for me,” Barr said of the former reality TV star. “I’ve known him for many years, and he’s done a lot of nice things for me ... it was just a friendly conversation about working and television and ratings.”

Trump often talks or tweets about shows’ ratings, sometimes comparing them to when he was on “The Apprentice.”

“Roseanne” originally aired from 1988 to 1997 and featured a blue-collar Midwestern family struggling to get by.

In the revival, Roseanne is a Trump voter who faces off against her sister, played by Laurie Metcalf, who portrays a Trump opponent.

The show will also deal with social issues like opioid addiction and gender identity.

Reporting by Eric Kelsey Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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