Is Ben Leaving The Conners? Jay R. Ferguson's Show Exit Scare Explained

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Jay R. Ferguson as Ben Olinsky, The Conners cast

Recent developments on ABC’s The Conners have caused viewers to question whether Jay R. Ferguson's Ben Olinsky exited the show.

ABC’s Roseanne continuation was part of the first big wave of television revivals when it premiered in 2018. However, the series’ leading lady, Roseanne Barr herself, was fired from Roseanne shortly thereafter for some controversial tweets (read more about Barr's exit here).

Thus, The Conners was born, utilizing all the cast members from Roseanne’s revival, sans Barr, whose family matriarch died off-screen. The spin-off has enjoyed a good deal of success and was recently renewed for a seventh and final season.

[ Full Cast of The Conners 2024 - Every Main Character & Actor Who Appears (Photos) ]

What Happened to Ben on The Conners?

The Conners star Jay R. Ferguson as Ben

Jay R. Ferguson began appearing as Ben Olinsky on The Conners back in its first season and was made a series regular in Season 3.

In the sixth season finale, which aired Wednesday, May 22, Ben invested some insurance money into a magazine business.

Concerns about putting large sums of money into printed media in the year 2024 aside, some fans of The Conners were worried that Ben would be leaving Lanford behind and exiting the show.

Those fans can rest assured, though. Jay R. Ferguson, by every indication, will return for the series’ final season, which is expected to air in 2025. 

Apart from the fact that Ben is married to Sara Gilbert’s Darlene, a main character, executive producer Bruce Helford teased (via The Wrap) Ben’s storyline heading into Season 7, essentially confirming that the character is here to stay:

"And of course, Ben (Jay R. Ferguson) is starting a magazine, and you know what a great idea that is. So I think we have a lot of movement, some up some down some sideways. It’s going to be interesting with the last six episodes — which we had always planned to do a final group of episodes."

Helford continued, praising The Conners’ plans for the final set of episodes and making mention of ending the "opus" that encompasses Roseanne’s 1988-97 run as well:

"We now have the pleasure and burden of creating a great ending to this opus. Very few shows have gone with the original cast for 16 years. So we take that as a great responsibility."

Bruce Helford and fellow producer Dave Caplan also spoke to TVLine about Ben Olinsky’s possibly shaky new business venture. Per Helford, Ben "really believes" that his idea for the trade magazine is a good one:

"He truly believes that he can make a combination trade magazine that is also a short story magazine like The New Yorker. I think he really believes there’s something in that. The safety in that is that it’s a trade magazine, and trade magazines still thrive pretty much."

Caplan added that this arc for Ben "felt very Conners," tying in well to the show’s longstanding sense of optimism in the face of hardship:

"It felt very 'Conners' to us that what Ben really wants is to write long-form pieces for The Atlantic, but what he’s going to get is a hardware industry trade magazine, and try to turn it into something he likes."

The Conners Will End a Story that Began in 1988

In 1988, television audiences were introduced to Roseanne and Dan Conner, a working-class couple who, in comparison to certain families on other popular sitcoms, were often just scraping by.

Indeed, Roseanne was groundbreaking in its own way. It presented a lead character who was a strong-willed woman and mother of three who refused to accept any guff from anyone. Roseanne Conner managed to handle whatever life threw at her with humility and a razor-sharp wit.

It likely came as little surprise that ABC wanted to bring the series back form more episodes in the mid-2010s. And while things with the revival did not wind up working out perfectly, The Conners was created to carry on the sizable legacy that began with Roseanne.

In early May, ABC renewed The Conners for six more episodes. The show has a lot of ground to cover, a lot of loose threads to tie up, and not much time to do it.

Viewers can expect Season 7 to expand upon major established stories, such as those of the recently-retired Dan and Jackie, as well as Darlene’s young son Mark potentially landing himself in hot water with his new illegal hacking job. Perhaps Michael Fishman will even return as DJ.

However The Conners’ final season shakes out, it will conclude the 37-year run of a combined two TV series and 343 episodes. If nothing else, that has to be an achievement. 

Season 6 of The Conners can be streamed on Hulu.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.