Entertainment from the 1980s and ’90s is back — and fans are eating it up.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham and contributor Raymond Arroyo discussed America’s obsession with “reboot mania” on Thursday night’s “The Ingraham Angle.”
Potential explanations for the success of recent reboots certainly abound. Whether it’s the timelessness of (or appreciation for) quality storylines; a growing demand for conservative-friendly programming; or a straight-up nostalgic longing for times passed — the outcome is undeniable.
The reboots are working — at least right now.
The “Roseanne” reboot debuted in March and has earned record-breaking viewership. “Cobra Kai,” one of the most recent revivals, appeared on the scene on May 2 on YouTube Red, and similarly crushed viewership records for video-on-demand (VOD) shows.
Now, later this year, CBS has announced a relaunch of the multi Emmy-award winning “Murphy Brown.”
“Roseanne’s” appeal, in part, comes from its audacious risk to touch the untouchables. Primary characters are unapologetically conservative — gasp! But more importantly, the show is funny.
“Roseanne” pokes fun at folks on both sides of the aisle. In doing so, it maintains that razor’s edge balance that allows viewers’ whole families — liberals and conservatives alike — to take a 30-minute break from the nonstop political vitriol in this country and sit down and have a laugh together.
The show took a risk. And America approves.
Curiously, earlier this week, ABC announced “Roseanne” will be moving away from political content to focus more on family, as The Washington Post and others reported.
Time will tell if the network will be rewarded for that move. It found a formula that worked, and brilliantly. Why toy with it?
Maybe they’re not going to toy with it after all.
“It looks like she is going to keep on this train where there is a balance of politics and family,” Arroyo said on Thursday night on “The Ingraham Angle,” pointing to a recent tweet by the show’s main star.
On Thursday night, Roseanne Barr, a Trump supporter, tweeted that she takes issue with the way the press characterized the supposed changes to the show.
Earlier, she’d tweeted, “ABC has been nothing but supportive to me and my show and all of our ideas. The press has misrepresented what [the] ABC president said about our new season.”
On Thursday she added this tweet:
“If she wants to keep ratings, you’ve got to have some politics, because it’s funny,” host Laura Ingraham said. “And it’s real.”
Like “Roseanne,” YouTube Red’s “Cobra Kai” doesn’t just revive a storyline: It brings original cast members along for the ride, too.
“Cobra Kai” is a sequel to the “Karate Kid” movie franchise from the ’80s. The 10-episode first season stars the grown-up versions of Daniel LaRusso (played by Ralph Macchio) and Johnny Lawrence (played by William Zabka).
In another parallel to “Roseanne,” “Cobra Kai” also outperformed its competitors in viewership. In the case of “Cobra Kai,” those competitors are streamed shows such as “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix and “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu, Variety reported.
“The ’80s are making a big comeback,” said Ingraham when Arroyo pondered what might be driving the show’s success. “The ’80s rocked, OK?” she added. “The great hair bands, great economy, Reagan for eight years. It was awesome.”
And now, following the success of shows like “Roseanne” and “Cobra Kai,” CBS will be reviving “Murphy Brown” this fall.
The revival will sport an interesting tweak in setting. Though the eponymous title character played by Candice Bergen will still be in the news business, instead of anchoring a primetime news magazine she’ll now be hosting a show called “Murphy in the Morning,” Entertainment Weekly reported.
“The CBS entertainment chief said [they] probably won’t get ‘Roseanne’-style ratings.’ I think he’s right.”
Murphy and her television son, Avery, will be going head-to-head on competing shows in the same time slot. And unlike his mother’s show — Avery’s show will appear on a conservative network.
“Whole-hog politics,” was Arroyo’s description of the show, which appears to be channeling the real-life rivalry of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Added Arroyo, “The CBS entertainment chief said [the network] probably won’t get ‘Roseanne’-style ratings.’ I think he’s right.”
Ingraham predicted the show wouldn’t last a season.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.