CBS is unveiling a host of new programming this fall and one of the season’s most anticipated comedies comes directly to your screen tonight at 8:30PM ET/PT when Bob Hearts Abishola makes its series debut. Bob Hearts Abishola is the story of Bob, a man who owns a sock factory in Detroit who falls for his nurse, a Nigerian immigrant named Abishola, after the stress of his job sends him for a stay in the hospital. Unfazed by Abishola’s lack of romantic interest, Bob sets his sights on winning over his dream woman, with more than a few laughs along the way.
CBS Local’s Matt Weiss spoke to series stars Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku to discuss their behind-the-scenes chemistry, the show’s accurate portrayal of an immigrant’s journey and what audiences can expect as this series goes on.
MW: Billy, Folake, good morning!
BG: Good morning!
FO: Good morning, Matt!
MW: So Bob Hearts Abishola. New show on CBS coming to the network and Billy I want to start with you first as the CBS veteran. How’s it feel to be back on CBS reunited with Chuck Lorre and what made you want to get involved in the first place?
BG: Well after Mike & Molly ended I took about 3 years, I did a dramatic show called Sun Records and then I was just working on my stand-up and I wanted to be choosey and see what the right “next thing” would be for me and I had no idea. I thought it would be co-starring as the uncle or the nutty neighbor, I figured that was my route but Chuck called me and said, ‘man I have a great idea and I’m working with this Nigerian comic named Gina Yashere and Al Higgins from Mike & Molly and we’ve come up with this beautiful idea and we think you’re the guy for it.’
I was just blown away, I don’t know who gets a second chance like this and then I landed in the middle of this lovely show with a lovely new co-star and a lovely new cast and I’m truly blown away that this is happening again.
MW: And obviously the show revolves around your two characters and Folake you play Abishola who is a Nigerian immigrant. As an immigrant yourself, what’s it like for you to be able to tell that story on television every week?
FO: It’s humbling. It’s something that I’m grateful for. It’s something that I wish I had seen myself growing up. I think it’s an accurate depiction of our world. I think that’s something that a lot of people are looking forward to very much. They haven’t seen a story like this being told, imagery like this and I think it’s about time.
It’s beautifully told and I think our producers are doing a great job in keeping it authentic and grounded while still being funny, really, really, funny. I’m honored and blessed.
MW: From the previews I’ve seen so far, the chemistry is not there for your characters immediately, maybe there is for Bob, not so much for Abishola. But what about you two in real life, how’s the chemistry between you two working on set?
BG: It was immediate, immediate…
BG: …Yeah immediately, we got along from the jump. We read together and connectedon a human level. It’s going to be a fun journey to take with Folake and we got each other through this and that’s the secret, man. When you care about who you’re working with I think it comes through and the audience knows that.
FO: A few times where I’ve been supposed to laugh during a scene and it was a bit difficult and all I had to do was look in his eyes for an instantaneous laugh.
BG: I think she’s just looking at me and it made her laugh. [laughs]
FO: No, I was looking into his soul and it made me laugh.
MW: I was going to say, I wasn’t sure if that was going to be a compliment, wasn’t sure where that was going…
FO: [Laughs] It was definitely a compliment.
MW: Last question for you two. What can viewers expect after tonight as we move into the season, what do you hope people take away from Bob Hearts Abishola?
FO: You might be learning a new language, at least a couple of words in Yoruba and it’s still good. At the end of your day it’s the perfect thing to watch to unwind it makes you feel light. It’s a lovely show. It exceeds expectations, you might think you know what it’s about, but you don’t.
MW: Awesome, I know I’m not alone when I say I’m really looking forward to seeing this play out Monday nights. It’s been great talking to the two of you and best of luck on the season and the show moving forward!
BG: Thank you!
FO: Thank you, Matt!
Bob Hearts Abishola airs Monday nights at 8:30PM ET/PT, only on CBS. Check your local listings for more information.