‘Roseanne’ is a huge hit in return to ABC

The 1990s hit sitcom “Roseanne” was a hit once again for ABC on Tuesday night.

The season premiere of the rebooted working-class comedy, starring the original cast including Roseanne Barr and John Goodman, averaged 18.2 million viewers over two back-to-back episodes, according to data from Nielsen. It was the second most-watched entertainment program of the television season, trailing only an episode of NBC’s drama “This Is Us” that aired after the network’s coverage of the Super Bowl.

The episodes of “Roseanne,” which started at 8 p.m., provided the biggest audience for Walt Disney Co.’s DIS, +2.63%   ABC prime-time entertainment lineup since 2006. The premiere also garnered more viewers than the original series finale in 1997, which averaged about 16 million viewers.

The success shows that new episodes of old sitcoms can still attract substantial audiences and speak to modern issues, and is another indication that the trend of bringing back vintage shows isn’t going away anytime soon. Comcast Corp.’s CMCSA, +2.40%   NBC has done well this season with its reboot of the 1990s comedy “Will & Grace,” and CBS CBS, -0.71%   is developing a new version of ”Murphy Brown,” in which Candice Bergen will reprise her role as the pioneering TV newswoman.

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