A candid Gina Yashere was quick to explain who made the decision to end Bob ❤ Abishola after only five seasons – it was CBS, she exclaimed. But she also admitted the budget cuts made her treat the show’s supporting characters with even more respect in its final year.
As part of the cost-cutting move to secure a renewal for the Warner Bros comedy, the sitcom’s supporting cast was offered to continue as recurring with a five-episode guarantee. Only stars Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku had their series-regular options exercised to remain on the multi-camera comedy full time.
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The comedy from executive producers Yashere, Chuck Lorre, Al Higgins and Matt Ross will still produce 13 episodes in its final season.
“The industry is in flux right now. The money that was there 10 years ago is here anymore,” Yashere told reporters Tuesday on the Warner Bros lot. “We made sure when we work with the characters, rather than just crowbarring them into an episode, we concentrate the stories by using a character and building a story around them. We make them the center of episode. We use everyone properly. It made us kind of concentrate more on every character. It was both positive and negative.”
Olowofoyeku fought back tears when asked about ending the comedy. Bob ❤ Abishola has been a solid ratings performer for CBS; it premiered as the No. 1 new comedy of the 2019-20 television season. Since its second season, no comedy on NBC, ABC or Fox has delivered more viewers, and, along with its Monday time slot mate The Neighborhood, they were the top two comedies during the 2022-23 season among African American viewers.
“It’s a bittersweet,” said Olowofoyeku. “Bitter because it’s coming to an end, sweet because of the work we’ve done here for the last five years. It’s extremely impactful. I can speak for my culture, Nigerians, the reflection of these characters in such a positive light, is something we’ve yearned for, for so long. It gives context to our experience as immigrants and as Nigerians as a whole. I feel like the impact of this show will reveal itself for many more years to come. I don’t think we fully comprehend the work we’ve done here. I feel very grateful. I learned about gratitude on this show.”
Gardell explained how the show was seamless in its ability to incorporate his real life weight loss into the narrative.
“I was in a place with my health that I needed to make a severe change,” said Gardell. “I talked to Chuck. This guy has given me everything. This is a show about a guy getting healthy and falling in love. You do what you gotta do and we will take the character on that journey. The fact that this guy had a heart attack in the beginning lined up. I hadn’t had a heart attack yet, but I was running in the red. I had to make that change.”
Ross seemed to indicate there are no grand plans to wrap the show, nor should there be. “I think you treat characters like real people. You don’t complete their lives, you don’t try to tie a bow,” he said. “You get little windows into these moments. there could be 50 more stories to tell. it’s not our job to say ‘Bon voyage, they are done learning’ and they are done being interesting.”
Bob ❤ Abishola airs Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS
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