When The Goldbergs returns to ABC this fall, the sitcom will be without one beloved cast member. George Segal, who starred as Albert “Pops” Solomon for the first eight seasons of the series, passed away at the age of 87 of complications from bypass surgery in March of this year. As the show prepares to move forward without the central figure, The Goldbergs will honor Segal in the Season 9 premiere.
During a panel at the Television Critics Association press tour in late August, The Goldbergs star and executive producer Wendi McLendon-Covey confirmed the ABC sitcom will pay tribute to the late actor during its Season 9 opener, set to air on Wednesday, Sept. 22. Keeping true to typical The Goldbergs style, the premiere episode will open with an homage to a 1980s movie. McLendon-Covey, who said the show will “be mentioning George a lot this season,” said the first such homage of Season 9 will honor Segal by way of a special storyline addressing his absence on the show.
“Every time we open a season, it’s a movie tribute,” McLendon-Covey said, The Hollywood Reporter reported. “We’re doing one that takes us on the journey of where to spread Pops’ ashes. It’s hysterically funny, and you’ll cry your eyes out. Sean Giambrone and I could barely get through filming.”
McLendon-Covey had previously confirmed that the series would not recast Pops and would instead address Segal’s passing and the character’s absence in the upcoming season. Addressing fan concern, the actress wrote, “are asking what’s planned for Pops. Even though my input and stories have not been used this season, I know the way to address this loss is to use my real experience of losing my Grandpa to honor George and my Pops. Hope I’m welcome S9!”
Segal had been a staple of The Goldbergs since its inception, having played Pops since 2013 and having continued filming just prior to his death. Pops was the owner at a furniture shop, which he passed down to his son-in-law, Murray Goldberg, and in his retirement, he had been living in the Goldberg household with Beverly, Maury, and his grandchildren – Barry, Erica, and Adam. In total, Segal starred in more than 160 episodes of the series, with his final appearance occurring on the April 7 episode “Couple Off,” which ended with a 48-second video tribute to the actor that concluded with a message reading, “We will miss you, George.” The Goldbergs returns for its ninth season on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET.