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Why The Role Of Becky Was Recast On Roseanne

Occasionally having to recast a character is par for the course on television, especially when it comes to long-running shows with high episode counts in each season. Whether a casting switch is due to contract disputes or just plain old life getting in the way, most TV fans have probably sat through one or two recasting situations over time. One of the strangest came courtesy of the massively successful '90s sitcom "Roseanne."

Created by Matt Williams and comedian Roseanne Barr, "Roseanne" ran for nine seasons from 1988 to 1997. It was later revived in 2018, and many of the show's major characters, sans Barr, currently continue their storylines on the spinoff "The Conners." One of the original show's signature characters is Becky Conner, portrayed by both Lecy Goranson and "Scrubs" star Sarah Chalke. The recasting was unusual in that Chalke did not outright replace Goranson, and the two even alternated the role for a time. The series made the recasting a tongue-in-cheek joke for the audience, making the best of a bad situation. But the real reason for this casting strangeness is fairly normal.

Lecy Goranson wanted to go to college

Lecy Goranson had portrayed Becky Conner growing up on "Roseanne" for multiple seasons when she was suddenly replaced by Sarah Chalke, who would go on to be part of popular shows like "Rick and Morty." In "Roseanne" Season 5, Goranson left the role to do something very non-Hollywood: go to college. Goranson made acting a part-time gig and attended Vassar College (via TV Line). She then appeared sporadically on the series until she was fully replaced. 

The sporadic appearances were explained as Becky leaving to get married, but producers ultimately decided to feature the character more, leading Chalke to send an audition tape (via the Toronto Star). Goranson said that at the time she left, she was craving "normalcy" and being around her own "peer group" after years on the show (per Live with Kelly and Ryan).

Goranson returned to the role in Season 8, but Chalke would still alternate in until she took on full-time duties again for Season 9. The switch was played for laughs, with multiple characters even asking Goranson's Becky where she'd been when she first returned. The show would continue to reference the back-and-forth, with both Beckys even appearing onscreen together for the closing credits of an episode while the theme music for "The Patty Duke Show" plays (via TV Series Finale).

Chalke returned to "Roseanne" in Season 10 for the 2018 revival, but as a different character, Andrea, who wanted a child and sought to use Becky as a surrogate. Chalke continued in her new role for the spinoff series "The Conners," which once again sees Goranson returning as Becky.