“Bob Hearts Abishola” heads to off-network syndication for fall

Deals made as CBS sitcom wraps up five-season run

In a move that was expected given it was approaching the five-season mark, Warner Bros.’ sitcom Bob Hearts Abisola was sold in broadcast off-network syndication to several station groups this fall with 92 episodes available to air, announced last week. 

Warner did not announce what percentage of the country is cleared, or how much barter time would be withheld from each episode. But it sold the show to stations owned by Nexstar, Mission, Scripps, Sinclair, Tegna, Hearst, and Weigel. We’ll know what stations will air the program come August when we get closer to the fall season. 

“Working on Bob Hearts Abishola has been a joy,creator and executive producer Chuck Lorre said in a statement. “From the authentic perspective our cast brings to their roles to the rich cultural experience our writers and crew bring to life each week, Bob Hearts Abishola has truly shown that immigrants make America great, and that love comes in many forms.  I’m happy that audiences will be able to continue to enjoy these beautiful stories in syndication for years to come.”

Lorre already has several of his series in syndication – all from Warner Bros. with The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Two And A Half Men, Mom, and previously Mike & Molly, where current Bob star Billy Gardell appeared opposite Melissa McCarthy. Bob was sold in three-year deals to TV stations. 

Bob joins Debmar-Mercury’s The Conners as off-network fare debuting this fall, along with NBCUniversal’s Suits, who announced this week it sold 131 episodes of the drama to Fox’s MyNetworkTV, which programs two late-night weeknight hours over My50 (WPWR-TV) here. The former USA Network show with Megan Markle has recently gained popularity thanks to its exposure on Netflix. 

Bob Hearts Abishola premiered in 2016 featuring Gardell as a compression sock salesman (yes, that is a thing) who falls in love with his nurse Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku), a Nigerian immigrant. This season, CBS made budget cuts reducing the appearances of much of the cast, leading the network and the show to mutually part ways with a shortened season due to last year’s actors’ and writers’ strikes.

The show is one of the rare few in television history featuring an interracial romance between a black and a white couple at the center of the plot – a taboo that would’ve angered viewers and local station managers in the first two decades of the modern media era, especially in the South. In the 1970s, The Jeffersons did feature the first interracial married black-white couple in television history with Tom and Helen Willis, played by Franklin Cover and Roxie Rover, respectively. 



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