Bob Hearts Abishola EPs Reveal How Much We’ll See of Each Character After Final Season Cast Cuts

For CBS’ Bob Hearts Abishola, a shortened final season has — at least in one regard — turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

As previously reported, only Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku will return to their titular roles as series regulars for the sitcom’s final 13 episodes. The rest of the ensemble — which consists of Christine Ebersole (as Dottie), Matt Jones (as Douglas), Maribeth Monroe (as Christina), Vernee Watson (as Gloria), Shola Adewusi (as Auntie Olu), Barry Shabaka Henley (as Uncle Tunde), Travis Wolfe Jr. (as Dele), Anthony Okungbowa (as Kofo), Bayo Akinfemi (as Goodwin), Saidah Arrika Ekulona (as Ebunoluwa) and series co-creator Gina Yashere (as Kemi) — will now appear on a recurring basis, which has forced the writers to get creative.

More from TVLine

“Before, when we had to get everybody in every episode, we would put characters in an episode and they would have two lines,” Yashere tells TVLine. “But now, because we have this concentrated number of episodes, when we include a character, we build a story around them. It’s a silver lining, as far as the writing is concerned.”

As co-showrunner Matt Ross puts it, “Our deep bench of series regulars was an embarrassment of riches. You had all these talented people that you felt you weren’t able to write to as deeply as you would like,” he explains. “Anybody from Barry Shabaka Henley [who plays Uncle Tunde] to Maribeth Monroe [who plays Bob’s sister Christina], any time you gave them the ball, they’d run with it. They’d do so well, and you’d say, ‘I wish they had three scenes and not one….’ And now, you get to say, ‘OK, this is the episode where Christina makes this big, huge, surprising decision about her future,’ and we follow what that looks like for her, and all of the emotions that come with it.

“It’s different [with 13 episodes],” Ross points out. “If we could only use everyone for 4-5 episodes each across 22, I think everybody, including the fans, would feel that a lot more than you feel it across 13.”

Bob Hearts Abishola Cast on CBS
Courtesy of CBS

Bob Hearts Abishola started off as more of a two-hander — an unlikely love story about a middle-aged compression sock businessman (played by Mike & Molly vet Gardell) and his cardiac nurse (Olowofoyeku). Over time, the series blossomed into a true ensemble effort — and by Season 4, the cast had expanded to 13 series regulars.

CBS first announced B❤️A‘s fast-approaching end date in November. “It’s a testament to the incomparable Chuck Lorre, the amazing creative team led by Al Higgins, Gina Yashere and Matt Ross, and the talents of Billy Gardell, Folake Olowofoyeku and the entire cast for making this show and its characters come to life and resonate with viewers,” CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach said in a statement at the time. “We plan to celebrate it this spring and give fans the most amazing episodes to remember it by.”

The series’ farewell run kicks off Monday, Feb. 12 at 8:30/7:30c, while its series finale is scheduled for May 13. Will you be watching?

Watch Bob Hearts Abishola Season 5 Episode 1 Online - Release Date on CBS, Paramount Plus
Watch Bob Hearts Abishola Season 5 Episode 1 Online - Release Date on CBS, Paramount Plus

Bob Hearts Abishola Season 5 Spoilers

View List

Best of TVLine

Get more from Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter