The Story Behind Why Megan Fox Replaced Zooey Deschanel On New Girl For A Season

Remember when Megan Fox was on New Girl? The actress known for Transformers and Jennifer’s Body suddenly became a lead in the FOX sitcom in 2016’s Season 5 during a plotline that had Zooey Deschanel’s Jessica Day being sequestered to jury duty. At the time, the New Girl shakeup felt random to say the least, but not only is there a practical reason why it happened, it also found a way to enhance the series in its final years.

So, let’s talk about it. Here’s the story behind Megan Fox’s unexpected stint on New Girl.

The Practical Reason Why Megan Fox Replaced Zooey Deschanel On New Girl

While Jessica Day was still riding the will-they-won’t-they tides with Jake Johnson’s Nick Miller in the series itself, Zooey Deschanel was actually rather pregnant in real life and needed to go on maternity leave as the network series needed to remain on schedule with weekly episodes on FOX. That’s where Megan Fox was written in. The show’s creator Elizabeth Meriwether spoke to the decision to TV Insider at the time, saying this:

We had the two episodes that were just the guys and Hannah, and I had a lot of fun with those episodes. But now we get to have both. In the fifth season, I think it was actually a blessing to be forced into a situation where we really had to shake things up. Cece and Winston’s friendship develops more during Jess’s absence, and then we explore Cece’s feelings about Nick a little bit. We’re able to go into dynamics of characters that we haven’t been in as much in other seasons. What initially seemed like a huge challenge actually ended up being this fun opportunity to shake up the world a little bit.
As fans of the series may remember, when Jess was brought on a major jury case, the loft decided to rent out her room as an Airbnb to pay for Schmidt’s bachelor party. The couple of episodes without a “New Girl” at all Meriwether referred to was Season 5, Episode 4 “No Girl,” where the hilarious Fred Armisen plays a whimsical temporary roommate and Episode 6 “Bob & Carol & Nick & Schmidt” became a hilarious highlight where Cece and Winston become best friends as he goes with her wedding dress shopping.

How Long Did Megan Fox Replace Zooey Deschanel For?
While Megan Fox’s casting was initially a way for the series to keep things going without Zooey Deschanel as she welcomed a child, the actress ended up being a major character in New Girl. Fox ended up starring in seven episodes in Season 5 before returning for Season 6 for eight episodes. Merriweather shared why Fox was her choice to replace Jess back in 2016 with these words:

The show still feels like the show, but her character is almost the opposite of Jess. She’s a very no-nonsense, tough-talking woman who has traveled all around the country for her job, so she doesn’t put up with any bullsнιт. Megan did an amazing job of stepping into the fifth season of a show that has such a weird, fun and specific tone and matched it. She brought great ᴅᴇᴀᴅpan looks and a really dry sense of humor, which is not something we do on the show a lot.
Megan Fox’s Reagan was definitely the opposite of Jess’s craft-loving, sing-songy personality. It actually provided ways for the other characters to build and grow in new and hilarious ways.

How Reagan Ultimately Enhanced New Girl
Reagan may have never learned the rules of True American, but she was a major love interest for Nick Miller that ultimately led to Jess and Nick’s endgame romance we were all rooting for. Fox was also genuinely funny in the series and really gelled with the cast’s personalities in fun ways. While one might not have seen Fox prior as a comedy actress, New Girl showed them wrong thanks to her dry, but very on point humor.

It’s not easy for a comedy series like New Girl to last seven seasons like it did. While the addition of Megan Fox at first may have been a temporary solution due to Zooey Deschanel’s pregnancy, it turned into a great move for the series that is really fun to see roll out on a rewatch. Now that you know the story, you can check out our ranked list of best New Girl episodes and check out the series with a Hulu subscription.

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