Welp, we had our suspicions that the addition of a new paramedic chief character to 9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 might lead to this. Liv Tyler is leaving the 9-1-1 spin-off ahead of Season 2, TV Guide has confirmed.
Tyler, who played paramedic chief Michelle Blake throughout the series' first season, will not return for the next round of Austin-based first responder adventures on the Fox disaster procedural. As originally reported by Deadline, Tyler's exit is due to the actress' concerns about traveling back and forth between her home in London to the U.S. for production, on account of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that she has familial obligations at home.
In a statement, showrunner Tim Minear said of the news, "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. 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."
Minear's offer of an open door policy for Tyler to return to the show is certainly not new to the 9-1-1 TV universe. After Connie Britton left 9-1-1 ahead of Season 2, she eventually returned for the final episodes of Season 3 and offered some closure to her storyline. And while Tyler's character did reach some resolution in the Season 1 finale, when Michelle reunited with her sister Iris, Minear previously told TV Guide of his plans for her in Season 2.
When asked if she was going to give Iris' ex a break in the wake of finding her sister, Minear said, "She's 100 percent not going to back off. And I think her story with Iris is a watershed and possibly life-changing moment for her. She may discover that her occupation is also a vocation. She may be pursuing passions she was not expecting to pursue."
9-1-1: Lone Star Season 2 is expected to debut some time in the midseason, along with its parent show 9-1-1, on Fox.