Here’s a scoop you won’t find on the Outdoor Man vlog: Last Man Standing gave some serious thought to inviting original cast member Molly Ephraim — aka Mandy No. 1 — back for the Tim Allen comedy’s ninth and final season on Fox.
The producers also discussed having Alexandra Krosney (OG Kristin) return for a cameo.
“You know, it’s funny… We actually did [consider it],” showrunner Kevin Abbott tells TVLine. “At the beginning of the year, Fox had asked, ‘Can you do something that’s promotable at the start of the season?’ We felt like the time jump was promotable, but it’s tough. We were kicking around ideas prior to landing on [Home Improvement‘s] Tim Taylor coming on the show, and that was in there.”
Of course, both Ephraim and Krosney “would have had to be OK coming back,” Abbott specifies, and “I’m not certain that would have been accomplished.” Of those departures, “one of those was not our decision… [and] I don’t think attitudes have softened during the last four years.”
Abbott, who is quick to point out that he also worked on Roseanne “the year that we changed Beckys,” indicates that neither Ephraim nor Krosney would have stepped in for their successors, Molly McCook or Amanda Fuller. But he also doesn’t reveal how, exactly, he’d have written the original actresses back into the show.
“We kicked around some funny ideas, and if there was one that was funny enough to justify it, I would have given it a shot,” he says. “I would have called some people, but we never really had it. And then once we [landed on] Tim Taylor coming on, it just felt like that’d be too many meta jokes in a season.”
TVLine readers gave Last Man Standing‘s May 20 series finale — and the Fox era as a whole — an average grade of “B+.”