‘Last Man Standing’: Why Didn’t Molly Ephraim Return for Season 7?

Fans of the once-canceled ABC comedy Last Man Standing were shook when they found out the show was going back on the air.

Thanks to Fox’s ability to see a diamond in the rough, fans would be able to reunite with some of their favorite comedy characters. Sadly that revival also came with a bit of bad news. Some actors would not be making an appearance. 

Among the list was Molly Ephraim and Flynn Morrison. While fans were disappointed at the loss of their favorites, they couldn’t help but be ecstatic that the show would be back for a seventh season.

Why didn’t Molly Ephraim return to ‘Last Man Standing’?

Molly Ephraim
Last Man Standing | Eric McCandless/ABC via via Getty Images

When ABC canceled Last Man Standing in 2017,the actors and actresses all went their separate ways. That includes Ephraim.

After ABC shut its doors on the show, it didn’t take long for Ephraim to find a home on another set. She played the bartender on Brockmire and Alexa Vonn on Halt and Catch Fire the very same year the show went off the air. She also starred in the TV movie Parked as Lorraine.

Executive producer Matt Berry shared some insight on why the actress who played the Mandy wasn’t returning to the show. Apparently, Ephraim already had her hands full with other projects. A quick look at her iMDB shows that she starred in Casual and The Front Runner last year. She also has a credit for The Act for this year.

While IMDb doesn’t show a full roster, it’s clear the Ephraim had prioritized her other projects over returning to Last Man Standing. 

That’s okay, though. Ephraim probably already had obligations and had signed contracts that made it difficult for her to rejoin her old “ABC” family.

While producers were reeling over the loss, they had more significant problems on their hands. With the renewal on the horizon, what would they do about Ephraim’s beloved character, Mandy.?

How did the show handle Ephraim’s absence from the season?

The show had a rather abrupt end, so it’s not like the producers had any time to prepare a good wrap-up for season six. Having a main character back out left them with very few choices. They could write her out and explain her absence in the first episode of the revival or they could recast her character. The went with option two.

The best part about the recast is no one thought it was going to work and frankly it caused quite an uproar. The show’s big wigs knew that when fans of the show saw the abrupt swap from Ephraim to Molly McCook, they would not be very pleased. It really is a hard pill to swallow, especially since she was one of the most popular characters!

They too weren’t pleased with the swap, but McCook ultimately grew on them.

“When Molly McCook walked in we thought, ‘That’s not going to work. Physically that’s not going to work.’ And then she’s just so good. We thought maybe another character? Then we thought she’s the best actress, let’s go with it.”

And go with it they did. They hoped that McCook would grow on the audience the same way she grew on them. While fans may still have their misgivings, Fox is far from displeased with the outcome of the renewal. The show has had excellent ratings and Fox’s President of Entertainment Michael Throne even dubbed Last Man Standing “one of television’s most popular comedies.”

Will ‘Last Man Standing’ be renewed for another season?

The cast and crew were pleased with how the season came to a close and the Fox execs were pleased with ratings. It goes without saying that the show will be back for at least one more season.

But once again the series will be facing some changes. WWE’s Smackdown Live will be taking its spot on Friday nights which will push the show to a different slot. Right now things are up in the air, but fans can bet Fox will let them know Last Man Standing’s new home as soon as they figure it out!