‘The Conners’ Star Michael Fishman Addresses Series Exit: ‘I Was Told I Would Not Be Returning’

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Michael Fishman has released a statement regarding his departure from ABC’s “The Conners” ahead of the show’s fifth season.

“It has been my honor to play D.J. Conner,” Fishman said in a statement to People. “It’s every actors dream to be a series regular, especially on a groundbreaking show, where we tackle significant topics.”

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“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,” he continued.

“While I was told I would not be returning for season 5, Lanford was a valuable place to grow up, learn and develop,” Fishman concluded. “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.”

Read Fishman’s full statement below.

Fishman played D.J. Conner in the series, reprising the role he played for 10 seasons on “Roseanne.” Exact details on how Fishman will be written out of the show are currently under wraps, but it will supposedly leave the door open for him to return in future episodes if he wishes. Jayden Rey, who plays DJ’s daughter Mary in the show, will be back as a series regular.

Cast members John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Emma Kenney, Ames McNamara, Jay R. Ferguson, and Katey Sagal will all return for the new season. Sagal joined the show in its first season as Louise, a former high school classmate of Dan, Roseanne, and Jackie who eventually becomes Dan’s new wife.

Fishman first began playing D.J. Conner in 1988 in the second episode of “Roseanne.” He stayed with the show throughout its first nine seasons, returning along with the rest of the original cast for the 2018 revival. He has also directed five episodes of “The Conners” since 2020, most recently directing the Season 4 episode “Messy Situation, Miscommunication and Academic Probation.”

Michael Fishman’s full statement:

“It has been my honor to play D.J. Conner. It’s every actors 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, 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.”

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