To this day, Boy Meets World holds a special place in many TV fans' hearts as one of the best sitcoms of the '90s. Amid the love, some likely also have some questions regarding behind-the-scenes creative choices. One of the biggest is arguably the decision to recast the character of Morgan Matthews during the show's run. Cast changes (or absences) weren't incredibly unusual during that era of TGIF sitcoms, as evidenced by Family Matters' Judy Winslow, though the BMW admittedly came out of left field. Now, years after the surprising change, the series' stars revealed the real reason why the show changed actresses.
The age-old Boy Meets World on a recent episode of the rewatch podcast Pod Meets World, which is hosted by series alums Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel, and Will Friedle. During the installment, the group caught up with William Russ, who played Matthews family patriarch Alan. The group discussed the Season 1 episode "On the Fence" and, during the chat, they revealed that series creator Michael Jacobs spent the first six episodes just pairing random characters together. Friedle mentioned that Eric and little sister Morgan were a potential brother-sister pairing during the first season. and recalled OG Morgan actress Lily Nicksay being “a nice kid” who “loved making jokes.”
Eventually, Danielle Fishel segued into the switch from Lily Nicksay to Lindsay Ridgeway after the second season. She asked William Russ about his perspective on the noticeable swap and, according to the TV dad, Nicksay was apparently unhappy at the time:
Good on Michael Jacobs for having the wherewithal to sense the young actress' unease and allow her to pursue other opportunities. The cast went on to mention that the youngest Mathews was absent for some time before her sudden disappearance became too difficult to ignore. The series ultimately addressed Morgan’s absence and reappearance in Season 3 when Ridgeway took over the character. When speaking to the original actress' departure, Danielle Fishel empathized with her situation, as she understands the pressure that comes with making a hit show:
It goes without saying that being an actor is tough, but things can be especially challenging for child stars. At the end of the day, it's probably best that Lily Nicksay left early on and didn't trudge on for the remainder of the show's run. And despite her early exit, the franchise clearly still holds a place in her heart years. This was made clear by the fact that Nicksay reprised her role as Morgan (alongside Lindsay Ridgeway) for the huge cast reunion in the revival series Girl Meets World.
The cast of Boy Meets World has opened up about quite a bit as of late. Rider Strong revealed that he had a chip on his shoulder when it came to being associated with the sitcom, leading him to run away from his TV fame and Los Angeles during production hiatuses. Danielle Fishel also opened up about her final years on the TGIF show being "tainted," as she wanted the series to end. Despite that, though, she and the cast finished strong after the seven seasons, which are available to stream with a Disney+ subscription.
There are still character-related mysteries that need to be solved, like why characters like Stuart Minkus and Mr. Turner were abruptly dropped. But at the very least, I'm glad to have the Morgan Matthews conundrum solved.
Fans hoping to hear more Boy Meets World secrets can check out Rider Strong, Danielle Fishel, and Will Friedle's Pod Meets World (which is happening without Ben Savage, unfortunately). Check it out wherever you listen to your podcasts.
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