We're noticing a trend over the past week or so with broadcast networks making casting announcements that start out sounding pretty straightforward but end up with tons of question marks floating around them (as we've seen with NBC's Law & Order: SVU & Chicago P.D.). Yesterday, we learned that Michael Fishman would be departing ABC's "Roseanne" spinoff series The Conners. But via a statement released by Fishman, it appears his departure was not of his choosing ("While I was told I would not be returning for season 5…"). Fishman first began in the role of D.J. Conner on Roseanne back in 1988 and would go on to join the revival in 2018, even directing five episodes of the series. John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, Jay R. Ferguson, Katey Sagal, and Jayden Rey are set to return for the fifth season, with Fishman reportedly being written off in a way that would keep the option for a return alive. Now here's a look at Fishman's full statement:
It has been my honor to play D.J. Conner. It's every actor's dream to be a series regular, especially on a groundbreaking show where we tackle significant topics. The opportunity to do comedy and drama alongside iconic castmates while reaching fans in meaningful ways has profoundly impacted my life. I am proud of the work I did as part of Roseanne and The Conners. Especially the privilege of playing a Military Veteran, [an] Interracial Spouse, and the father of a Bi-racial child, portrayed by the amazing Jayden Rey. I pride myself on professionalism, building lifelong connections, and meaningful friends through production. Demonstrating my skills through the first few years of 'The Conners' culminating in the opportunity to Direct 'Halloween' and 'The Election vs. The Pandemic.' That successful collaboration earned me four more opportunities as a Director last season. I achieved a dream with lifelong friends, propelling me toward another aspect of my career that comes with endless possibilities.
While I wholeheartedly will miss Friday night tapings in front of our loyal audiences, alongside our amazing cast and crew, I am excited for the opportunities coming in the next chapter of my career. I have a number of projects I am pitching as a writer and am negotiating my next directing opportunities. Although I no longer have the privilege to portray D.J., my desire, passion, and skill of bringing characters to life as an actor continues. I appreciate all those who support and have supported my work. While I was told I would not be returning for season 5, Lanford was a valuable place to grow up, learn and develop. I was incredibly lucky to return home and demonstrate my expansion. As I venture into the world to build the future, I send tremendous love and success to everyone involved in production.