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The Goldbergs AJ Michalka

The Goldbergs Season 5: AJ Michalka Not Returning as Series Regular

Barry Goldberg is going to be one lonely fella.

AJ Michalka, who plays Barry’s girlfriend and Erica’s best friend Lainey on The Goldbergs, will not return to the ABC comedy as a series regular for Season 5, TVLine has learned exclusively.

At the close of the Season 4 finale, Lainey told her beau that she was leaving early for college in Savannah, Georgia. But a long-distance romance is not in the cards for the blonde and Barry, who is still in high school back home.

“That relationship between Barry and Lainey was really important, especially in grounding [Barry],” executive producer Adam F. Goldberg tells TVLine. “I loved exploring the idea of what happens when a guy like Barry is madly in love and has a serious girlfriend. But [with] these family shows, the kids grow up, and all the dynamics eventually change, and that’s one that had to change.”

However, that’s not to say that Michalka won’t make the occasional guest appearance. In fact, “she’s already been to some table reads,” Goldberg reveals. “But it’s not going to be like years past where she’s in [almost] every episode.”

While Barry’s significant other is saying goodbye, Erica’s boyfriend Geoff Schwartz is staying put: As previously reported, Sam Lerner has been promoted to series regular for the upcoming season.

The Goldbergs Season 5 premieres Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 8/7c on ABC.