Lynette Rice
December 21, 2017 at 02:20 PM EST

When the producers decided to bring a Roseanne reunion to ABC, they didn’t want to do it without Sarah Chalke, who took over the role of Becky Conner in season 6 after Lecy Goranson went off to college.

But they couldn’t have two Beckys for the reboot that premieres on March 27. So showrunner Bruce Helford, along with fellow executive producers Tom Werner, Whitney Cummings, and Sara Gilbert came up with an ingenious, if not surprising, way to incorporate Chalke into the action.

EW can exclusively reveal that Chalke will play a middle-class married woman named Andrea who hires Becky (Goranson) to serve as her surrogate. The plot twist not only leads to some drama within the Conner family but it gives the producers a chance to wink at how important both women were to series, which aired from 1988 to 1997.

“I love the part! It’s such a fun part to play,” Chalke tells EW exclusively.

Chalke said it was Gilbert and Werner who reached out to her about joining the reunion. “I was so excited to hear that it was coming back. I think the timing is perfect,” she said. “I think it’s exactly what is needed right now. Right now when the country is so divided, I really think it’s a show that brings people together. The writing is so unbelievable. It’s so funny.”

Viewers will see that not much has changed in the working-class home of Roseanne (Roseanne Barr) and her husband, Dan (John Goodman). “You will feel the emotion from seeing that set again,” promises Helford, who’s returned to the sitcom after serving as its showrunner in 1992-1993. “It will be an extra-special experience.”

Adam Rose/ABC

ABC is planning a special hour-long premiere for Roseanne at 8 p.m. ET on March 27. The sitcom will settle into its regular time slot of 8 p.m. ET on April 3.

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