Mom showrunner Gemma Baker tells EW about the plotline that was just too devastating to consider.

Anna Faris announced in September that she wouldn't be returning for the eighth season of the CBS comedy. We asked showrunner Gemma Baker to reflect on Faris' decision to stop playing Christy Plunkett, and what will happen on the sitcom that stars the Emmy-winning Allison Janney as Christy's mom Bonnie.

Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When Anna made the decision to leave the show, did you panic immediately or did it take about a day? 
GEMMA BAKER: When we first heard Anna was leaving Mom we were, of course, sad to lose her. Anna created such a beautiful character in Christy Plunkett. And we loved writing the mother-daughter dynamics for Christy and Bonnie and watching that relationship deepen and heal over the years. But we never felt a sense of panic because, over the last few seasons, the show has naturally become more about the ensemble. We have such an incredibly strong cast, so we never doubted that we would be able to lean into them. There are so many stories left to tell about these strong women.

Have you ever been on a show before where the star left?
My very first job was on Two and a Half Men. I started in Ashton Kutcher's first season. In a way, a star leaving a show was actually my big break. And in that case, the show went four more seasons.

Did you consider killing Christy off?
Although our show has killed characters off in the past, we never considered this as an option for Christy. Our audience has been rooting for her for seven seasons and that loss felt like it would be too devastating for them and for our other characters. It was important to us that Christy moved on to bigger things. Quite often when people are in recovery their lives get bigger in ways they couldn't before have imagined. And so that will be the case for Christy. She has been working toward her dreams for a while now and we feel like the audience will be happy for her. The character of Christy will live on and we will continue to get updates on what she is up to and how her moving on will affect Bonnie.

Is anyone moving to series regular status as a result of this change? 

Will you address the pandemic this season?
We debated long and hard about whether or not to incorporate the pandemic into season 8. Ultimately, we decided not to address it since we've never incorporated current events into our episodes before. For us, that has felt like the right decision more and more every day. Hopefully our audience will enjoy a break when they watch our show.

Can you let us know about a few stories you have planned this season?
We're going to meet an interesting man from Bonnie's past. And there will be a visit from a beloved character. We will see Bonnie and Adam (Adam Fichtner), who are riding high on being happily married, give relationship advice to Jill (Jaime Pressly) and Andy (Will Sasso) with mixed results. Tammy (Kristen Johnston) will start to have some success which will cause some tension. Marjorie (Mimi Kennedy) will fall for a man that the other women are not so excited about. Wendy (Beth Hall) will surprise the group with a choice she makes.

Mom returns tonight at 9 p.m. ET on CBS.

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