Last Man Standing's Nancy Travis Is Heading To Hallmark For First Big TV Role After Vanessa Baxter

Nancy Travis as Vanessa Baxter in Last Man Standing.
(Image credit: Fox)

Hallmark has been losing stars left and right over the past year with some big names (including Danica McKellar and Candace Cameron Bure) departing, but now the channel has some excellent news: an upcoming TV show has recruited the talents of none other than Nancy Travis, just one year after she wrapped her longtime role as Vanessa Baxter on Fox’s Last Man Standing. So, what brought Travis back to TV for her first big role since the hit sitcom? Well, the rodeo is involved! 

Nancy Travis has joined the cast of Hallmark Channel’s upcoming primetime series Ride, and Deadline reports that the former sitcom star will be the mother of the McMurrays as they deal with a tragedy. Named Isabel, the character is the matriarch of a family in which legacy is important. They’re part of a rodeo dynasty, and they have to face the challenge of maintaining their ranch when times get tough in their Colorado town. Secrets will run rampant, so the family will have to try and stand strong. 

The female characters seem to be central to Ride. Riverdale alum Tiera Skovbye plays Missy, who is rodeo royalty but lost her husband, while The Flash’s Sara Garcia is Valeria, who was a teen runaway before taking what sounds like a pretty key place in the Hallmark TV show.

The cast is filled out by Good Trouble’s Beau Mirchoff as Cash McMurray, who faces the weight of his family legacy despite his status as the second son. Designated Survivor alum Jake Foy plays Tuff McMurray, the youngest son of Nancy Travis’ character. The show has also announced a star who won’t be playing a member of the family, with Shameless actor Tyler Jacob Moore as a stranger who meets the McMurrays. 

Set in Colorado, Ride will film in Alberta, Canada and is expected to debut next year. There are no details about how many episodes to expect or when exactly fans will get to see Nancy Travis in her new TV role as a character who sounds very different from Vanessa Baxter. Viewers who have missed her since the end of Last Man Standing will have to wait until 2023, and can only hope that the show arrives earlier in 2023 rather than close to the end. 

Although Nancy Travis has said that she had a tough time with how Last Man Standing ended, she clearly wasn’t turned off from working on television. She also appeared in some other notable shows while Last Man Standing was still running, as Donna Hodges in Mr. Mercedes and Lisa in The Kominsky Method

Of course, she did have to take a break from playing Vanessa when ABC cancelled the show in early 2017. More than a year passed before Fox rescued the sitcom and managed to bring back Travis and Tim Allen of the original ABC cast in 2018. Mandy and Boyd Baxter did have to be recast, and Kaitlyn Dever wasn’t able to return as a series regular. She did turn up again before the end, though!

If you want to revisit Last Man Standing, you can find the full series streaming with a Hulu subscription now. There are plenty of episodes to help fill the time while waiting for Nancy Travis’ arrival on Hallmark Channel with Ride. For some more viewing options, be sure to take a look at our 2022 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).