How The Conners Is Introducing A New Character Following Michael Fishman's Exit As D.J.

Excited Jackie and Neville in The Conners
(Image credit: ABC)

When The Conners returns to ABC for its anticipated fifth season, its instantly recognizable cast will be missing an O.G. Roseanne vet, with Michael Fishman being made to exit the sitcom between seasons, with his character D.J. being more or less written off in the premiere. But that surprising departure doesn’t mean the show won’t bring any new characters into the Lanford clan’s fold going forward. In fact, showrunner Bruce Helford has unveiled the new face that fans can expect to see in upcoming episodes. 

Helford offered a few select Season 5 nuggets of wisdom for The Conners fans to gnaw on while waiting for the Fall TV season to take off in earnest. Perhaps the biggest piece of totally new news, though, involves a previously unintroduced member of this ever-growing family. In an interview with TVLine, the showrunner revealed that the titular family will soon become a lot closer with one of their younger in-laws. According to Helford:

Louise and Neville have a nephew, a teenager, and they find out that he needs a place to live. He could go live with his Aunt Louise [and Dan], or his Uncle Neville and [Jackie], so that’s going to be very interesting.

I’m almost surprised he didn’t offer the outsider option for the unnamed teenager to potentially end up living with Darlene and Ben, where Becky and Beverly Rose will also be homesteading. (A storyline Helford and the creative team were excited to dig into.) But that probably makes sense. And considering Harris will be sticking it out in the main abode with Dan and Louise, it seems likely that the new kid will move in with Jackie and Neville. 

Though whether or not that situation could possibly last longer than a single night is anyone’s guess. Jackie seems like a less-than-ideal roommate as far as embracing peace and avoiding chaos is concerned. And she’ll be going through the major post-marriage change of moving in with Neville herself, so I’d wager that adding another hormone-laden human to the mix would inspire something less than ideal for all involved.

 For those who would rather reflect on older elements rather than newer ones, Bruce Helford also revealed that Season 5 will be filled to the brim with surprises, and some of them will point back to the days of Conner yore. In his words:

Every episode [in Season 5] has a surprise. There are revelations about the past, revelations about the future… It’s going to be one of our best seasons, honestly.

That almost definitely means we’ll get to see easter eggs from the Roseanne years, and Helford already teased the impending arrival of an old school character that will make fans flip the hell out. But that apparently won’t be unveiled until the actual episode debuts, so let’s break out our guessing hats.

The Conners has a new time slot coming, and Season 5 will debut on Wednesday, September 21, at 8:00 p.m. ET.  

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.