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In the Center of the Action : Television: While top producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner were dealing with CBS this week about joining the network, Roseanne Barr was pressuring them over her popular sitcom.

December 09, 1989|JEFF KAYE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Roseanne Barr, whose first feature film, "She-Devil," opened Friday, appeared this week to be attempting another coup to have an executive producer of her top-rated ABC show removed, sources familiar with the situation said.

The internal fracas over the show's creative direction comes exactly one year after a feud between Barr and "Roseanne" creator-executive producer Matt Williams resulted in his departure. Williams left the show in January, after the Christmas and New Year's production break.

Barr, who did not report for work on the set of "Roseanne" earlier this week, has complained about executive producer Jeff Harris' ideas for the show and wants him out, said an ABC source who called the situation "a mess."

There also were unconfirmed reports that Harris and another "Roseanne" producer, Danny Jacobson, have tried to remove Barr's fiance, Tom Arnold, from the writing staff, heightening tensions.

The apparent disarray on the show coincides with a confusing interview Barr gave to "Today" show correspondent Jim Brown on Tuesday. Brown asked her what she would do about her TV career if "She-Devil" becomes a hit.

"I'm outta there," Barr answered. "That's what happens." She also told Brown that even if her new movie fails at the box office, "I'm going to leave TV anyway. What the hell."

ABC referred calls about the matter to the show's producers, the Carsey-Werner Co. The company's spokesman had no comment. Barr's manager and her publicist declined to comment, and Harris did not return phone calls.

Barr has been known to be exceedingly concerned about creative control of the series, which is the most popular TV program in the country. After Williams left as executive producer of the program in January, executive producers Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner issued a statement saying that Barr had been given creative control over her character and that it was Barr's insight into working women that made the show appealing.

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