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‘New Girl’ EP Liz Meriwether on Losing Zooey Deschanel: ‘It Definitely Scared Me’

Two-part Season 5 finale of Fox sitcom airs tonight

Tonight’s Schmidt and Cece wedding won’t be the “New Girl’s” first nuptials; it won’t even be the second. But it will be the series’ best one (so far), if showrunner Liz Meriwether has anything to say about it.

This has been a terrific season for the underrated comedy, one that had to endure six weeks without its titular character, due to Zooey Deschanel‘s real-life pregnancy.

“It definitely scared me,” Meriwether told TheWrap of life without her quirky lead. “But then it worked out really well.”

“Once we knew we were gonna do the show without her for a couple of episodes, it sort of didn’t matter how many there were,” she said during our telephone interview. “We were committing to figuring out a new storyline.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

For starters, the ensemble show’s other talented stars — Jake Johnson, Max Greenfield, Lamorne Morris and the emerging Hannah Simone — upped their workload in terms of plot, jokes and even emotional moments.

Plus, while Jess Day (Deschanel) was sequestered for jury duty, a new new girl joined the crew in the very lovely form of Megan Fox. She not only served as a romantic interest for Nick (Johnson), Fox fit in just fine during improv sessions and scripted scenes.

On-screen and off, the tight gang took to Fox — a feeling that Meriwether believes was mutual.

“I think it was a really fun change of pace to not be in scenes with CGI’d turtles and robots,” the series creator joked.

The two-part “New Girl” season finale begins tonight at 8 p.m. Part 2 — the actual wedding portion — airs at 9.