After its shocking cancellation and eventual revival on Fox, Last Man Standing has had a roller coaster of a year. The drama didn’t stop when the show premiered in September, as fans were thrown with the change in the casting of middle daughter, Mandy.
Some expressed concerns that the switch was too drastic—the new actress, Molly McCook, is blonde while the former star, Molly Ephraim, was brunette. But Nancy Travis, who plays Tim Allen’s on-screen wife, Vanessa, has every hope that the viewers will adjust.
“It’s a very different casting from the original Molly,” Travis exclusively tells CountryLiving.com. “And it’s an interesting counterpoint. But we replaced the character of Kristin after the first season and audiences have grown to accept her.” (Alexandra Krosney originally portrayed Kristin until Amanda Fuller took her place.)
She also assured that there is no bad blood between the fellow Baxters and Ephraim. “Molly Ephraim decided not to return to the show, and we miss her and of course wish her well,” she says. “But the characters remain the same and the family remains the same. So hopefully audiences will be welcoming and not see the change as too jarring and a turn off.”
On McCook’s part, she seems to be settling into her role just fine, as she’s bickered with younger sister Eve (Kaitlyn Dever), shared sweet moments with her husband Kyle (Christoph Sanders), and has even taken on the issue of fertility so far in season seven. As far as how she fits in with the cast, Travis assures it's been a natural transition.
“I think she’s wonderful,” she says. “We’re having a great time.”
Last Man Standing airs Fridays at 8 p.m. EST on Fox.