Q: Why didn't the original Mandy come back to "Last Man Standing?" She had such natural comedic timing.

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

The short answer is the actress who played daughter Mandy Baxter in the first six seasons of "Last Man Standing" was one bit of the fallout from ABC's decision to cancel the show.

The show got the ax by ABC in the spring of 2017, and everyone (the cast included) assumed the show was dead until Fox swooped in to revive it in 2018.

As you say, Molly Ephraim, who played Mandy for the ABC run of the show, has a lot going for her and so didn't have much trouble finding new work.  

"When the show was canceled, everybody figured, 'OK, we gotta move on'," "Last Man Standing" executive producer Matt Berry said after the revival was announced. "[Molly] got involved in some different things, so when we came back she was not able to do it."

Among those other things was a role in the high-profile big-screen drama "The Front Runner" (2018), a leading role in the web series "Parked," and a recurring arc on the critical hit "Halt and Catch Fire."

Lots of luck for Ephraim, but it left "Last Man Standing" in a tough spot.

"It's unfortunate," Berry said. "We love her deeply, and she's a big part of who we were."

He was careful to put that in the past tense because at the time (less than two months before the show's revival premiere), he was trying to get people hyped up for a new season, a new network and a new Mandy.

And the fact is he only partially succeeded. The show's ratings have been consistently lower than on ABC, and the new actress, Molly McCook, faced a lot of backlash.


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