Original ‘Roseanne’ Cast Member Exits ‘The Conners’

by Samantha Whidden

As the cast from The Conners prepares for the fifth season premiere, there is one original Roseanne castmate who will not be appearing on the TV series any longer.

According to TV Line, Michael Fishman, who played D.J. Conner, will not be appearing on The Conners. Along with Fishman, his onscreen daughter Mary (played by Jayden Rey) will not have a major presence in the series. However, she will pop in for a guest starring appearance from time to time. 

Fishman notably had been on Roseanne from 1988 to 1997. He returned for the show’s revival in 2018. But the show was quickly axed by ABC after Roseanne Barr made inappropriate remarks about former Obama administration official Valerie Jarrett. Luckily, within a matter of weeks, the network decided to create a spin-off series focused on the Roseanne family called The Conners. Barr was not involved in the project. 

Fishman reprised his role and has been in nearly 40 of The Conners’ 71 episodes. Returning for season five are John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, and Jay R. Ferguson. The series will return on September 21st. 

Michael Fishman Talks Reprising His ‘Roseanne’ Role and Directing a Few Episodes of ‘The Conners’ 

While speaking to MovieWeb in December 2021, Michael Fishman opened up about what it felt like to reprise his role as D.J. Conner on The Conners. 

“I think the general thing when you come back to a character after such a long period,” Fishman explained. “Which is what people are experiencing now as we do these remakes, there’s this nostalgic kind of stepping through the time warp feeling that is very surreal, especially when you get a very similar set or the exact set as in our case.”

Along with discussing his reprised role, Fishman chatted about directing a few episodes of The Conners. “So I started directing last year on The Conners. I have some experience elsewhere. You know I’ve worked in most departments over the years. Between my acting stints, I went behind the scenes. So it’s a beautiful gift to have some awareness from different departments.”

Fishman describes directing the show’s Halloween episode as a huge responsibility for him. “It was a beautiful gift they gave me. The first time trusting me, they gave me what is usually our most complex technical episode, because it’s all the regular elements plus costumes and makeup and pranks and special effects. So it was a beautiful gift.”

In regards to shooting during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fishman added, “As an actor, you’re in Zone A, so you’re not usually in contact with as many people, right? Because that’s one of the ways they protect the set. But as the director, I gotta be connected to every department and especially going back and forth between the two.”