Why Did Liv Tyler Leave 9-1-1: Lone Star? Here’s The Real Reason Michelle Blake Didn’t Come Back
As the lead opposite of Rob Lowe on FOX’s hit series 9-1-1: Lone Star, you likely have questions about the sudden exit of Michelle Blake in the Season 1 finale. Why did Liv Tyler leave 9-1-1: Lone Star and was it her own decision to exit? We’ve got the details on the actress’ departure, below.
9-1-1: Lone Star is FOX’s procedural drama about the personal and professional lives of firefighters, paramedics, police officers, dispatchers and other first responders in Austin, Texas. The series premiered in 2020 and was created by Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Tim Minear (the same creators behind shows like Glee and American Horror Story). The 9-1-1 spin-off is based in Austin, Texas, as opposed to Los Angeles where the mothership show is located. The series also stars Rob Lowe, Ronen Rubinstein, Sierra McClain, Jim Parrack, Natacha Karam and more.
Actress Liv Tyler played Michelle Blake, an EMS captain and paramedic, who worked closely with Robe Lowe’s character, Owen Strand. She starred as Blake from the pilot episode until her last appearance in Season 1, Episode 10, “Austin, We Have a Problem.” Ahead of the Season 1 premiere, Tyler shared the series’ poster on Instagram along with the caption: “So excited for the premier of our new show TONIGHT !!!! @911lonestar @foxtv #911lonestar.”
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Lowe gushed about working with Tyler in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in January 2020. “We were so excited to get Liv. When that idea came up we were really pumped. It felt really fresh. There are some actors that you just know are going to make you more interesting when they stand next to you and Liv’s one of those people. It’s just a function of her energy and who she is. She’s very unique. She’s gorgeous in a very unique way,” Lowe explained to the entertainment site. “She’s got a body of work behind her that’s kind of iconic, and weird, and extraordinary and you also don’t see her all the time. It’s been great. It’s a really good part for her because it’s really different from anything you’ve seen her do before.”
Tyler is the famous daughter of Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler. She’s best known for her film roles in Armageddon and The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, and TV shows like Harlot and The Leftovers. Tyler will also be reprising her role as Betty Ross in Marvel’s Captain America: New World Order in 2024.
So, why did 9-1-1: Lone Star actress Liv Tyler leave the show as one of the leads so early on? Keep reading to find out.
Why did Liv Tyler leave 9-1-1 Lone Star?
Why did Liv Tyler leave 9-1-1 Lone Star? Our sister publication Deadline reported in September 2020 that Liv Tyler exited the show “due to circumstances related to family and travel during the pandemic.” Tyler was reportedly living in London with her partner and children at the time and was commuting between London and Los Angeles, where the series films. When the pandemic disrupted film production in March 2020, the filming of Season 2 was postponed until October 2020, and travel restrictions made it difficult for the actress to go back and forth. The travel bans at the time “would’ve impacted Tyler and her family as well as 9-1-1: Lone Star‘s production,” Deadline pointed out. The actress allegedly approached producers over the summer about leaving and breaking her standard multi-year contract, the outlet also reported.
Writers decided not to recast Tyler, leaving open the possibility for Michelle to return. “What a thrill it was having a movie star of Liv Tyler’s stature to help us launch the first season of 9-1-1: Lone Star,” said Tim Minear, series’ co-creator, executive producer and showrunner, in a statement to Deadline. “We loved working with Liv and will be forever indebted to her for her haunting, powerful portrayal of Michelle Blake. While we were able to tell a complete chapter in Michelle’s story, as with Connie Britton on our mothership, we also feel like there are more stories to be told. The door here will always be open for a return.”
What happened to Michelle Blake on 9-1-1: Lone Star?
What happened to Michelle Blake? Michelle’s storyline came to an end in the Season 1 finale when she was reunited with her missing sister that she previously thought was dead. It’s revealed that Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca) was living under a bridge since the night she went missing and was suffering from untreated schizophrenia. Michelle brings her sister home to try to help her, but she’s nervous to push too hard in fear that Iris could leave again.
“Finding Iris and finding Iris in the state in which she was found is going to fundamentally change who Michelle is, and it will alter the course of her life and what is now an occupation will probably become a kind of vocation,” Minear explained to TV Insider after the finale. “She’s going to find a deeper purpose and a new meaning for her life and it’s going to happen because of how she’s going to have to deal with her mentally ill sister, who is still living on the streets.”
Blake’s exit was carefully planned by Minear in hopes that the actress will return to 9-1-1: Lone Star one day. In an interview with TV Line in January 2018, Minear told TV Line that Michelle “is still in Austin” and it’s his “dream” to bring Liv Tyler back in some way in the future. “And I’ve talked to Liv about this,” he says. “I think there are really interesting stories to be told about a first responder who, as we put it in the first episode, gave up her occupation to pursue her vocation. I think that’s a very interesting story to tell. Just like my dream was to somehow get Abby to come back to 9-1-1 [after Connie Britton’s departure], my dream is to get Liv Tyler back on Lone Star.” Gina Torres’ character Tommy Vega stepped in for Blake in Season 2 as the new paramedic captain.
9-1-1: Lone Star airs on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on FOX.
For more on 9-1-1, check out the gallery below to see the 9-1-1 cast salaries per episode, from Angela Bassett to Oliver Stark!