Skip to main content

Fans mostly know Bob Hearts Abishola, and Mike & Molly star Billy Gardell from his roles in sitcoms. The actor has teamed up with Chuck Lorre on several occasions, but he has also tried his hand at hosting game shows. The Bob Hearts Abishola actor co-hosted Monopoly Millionaires Club with Todd Newton, a mentoree of Price is Right host Bob Barker.

'Bob Hearts Abishola' actor Billy Gardell, who hosted 'Monopoly Millionaires Club' with Bob Barker mentoree Todd Newton
Billy Gardell | Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ actor Billy Gardell and Bob Barker mentoree Todd Newton both loved game shows

While most fans know Billy Gardell as Bob Wheeler, Abishola’s (Folake Olowofoyeku) husband nowadays, in 2015, audiences knew him as the new host of Monopoly Millionaires Club.

And the comedian could barely contain his excitement at the time.

“I wanted the biggest game show on television,” Gardell told Variety in 2015. “They built a 50,000 square-foot LED stage in Las Vegas, and it’s going to be the biggest cash game show on television. Contestants could indeed win as much as $100,000 in one segment of the show, or $1 million per episode.”

The Bob Hearts Abishola actor also had Bob Barker mentoree, Todd Newton, as a co-host. Newton became known as The Price is Right Live! host, a stage version of the game show. CBS considered Newton to replace Barker as the host of The Price Is Right, but they chose Drew Carrey.

“I grew up in St. Louis, and I grew up in a home that loved Bob Barker during the day and Johnny Carson at night,” Newton told the Columbus Dispatch in 2021.

The ‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ actor and Bob Barker mentoree game show only lasted two short season

While many Gardell projects lasted multiple years, like Bob Hearts Abishola in its third season in 2022, Monopoly Millionaires Club with his Bob Barker mentoree co-host did not last long.

However, Newton had only one goal in mind when hosting game shows.

“I was always surrounded by these iconic hosts before I was even familiar with what that term meant,” Newton said. “I just realized that these guys were entertaining millions of people just by being themselves.”

The show’s cancelation was announced early in 2016, with its final episode running in the Spring of the same year. Gardell would star in Young Sheldon and with Olowofoyeku in Bob Hearts Abishola, while Bob Barker mentoree Newton continued hosting The Price is Right Live!

Newton feels ‘grateful’ to have had ‘The Price Is Right’ host as a mentor

While Gardell returned to sitcoms on CBS, Newton continued hosting game shows. 

“I’m so grateful to be able to say that I was mentored by the best,” Newton said in a 2019 interview, three years after working with the Bob Hearts Abishola actor, “Bob Barker took time with me to teach me how to do this because … I cherish the game show genre. I respect it. It is the only real form of reality television.”

He said he feels fortunate but knows the emphasis relies on the contestant. For players, getting called on stage is “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live out the dream of playing this game that they’ve seen on television for 35 plus years,” Newton said.


‘Bob Hearts Abishola’ and ‘General Hospital’ Actor Vernée Watson Had to Split Her Time Between the 2 Shows

“I try to host through the eyes of the contestant,” Newton said. “And when they win, there’s a little part of me that wins.”

Bob Hearts Abishola Season 3 continues Monday, January 17, 2022, while the Bob Barker-taught Newton The Price is Right Live! continues touring.