It’s official: Last Man Standing will be back. A year after it was canceled by ABC, Fox has closed deals to bring back the multi-cam comedy starring Tim Allen for premiere during the 2018-2019 season.
The bulk of the show’s core cast is back, including Allen, Nancy Travis, Jonathan Adams, Amanda Fuller, Christoph Sanders and Jordan Masterson. I hear co-star Hector Elizondo also has a deal in place to come back. His casting is currently in second position to his NBC comedy pilot Guess Who Died who is not expected to go forward at the network.
As Deadline previously reported, LMS producer 20th Century Fox TV had been in talks with sibling Fox Broadcasting Co. for a new season of the series, which will be its seventh, with Allen locked in to return.
Created by Jack Burditt, Last Man Standing stars Allen as Mike Baxter, a married father of three girls, who tries to maintain his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women.
Allen has been vocal about his disappointment over the cancellation of Last Man Standing by ABC and his hope to see it come back.
“Excited?,” he said today. “Team LMS was in the sixth inning, ahead by four runs, stands were packed and then for no reason, they call off the game. It leaves you sitting in the dugout, holding a bat and puzzled. Now we get the news from Fox that it’s time to get back out on that diamond – hell yes, I’m excited!
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When I heard the offer to create more episodes of Last Man Standing, I did a fist pump so hard I threw my back out. It’s the fans! I could not be more grateful for the fans who wrote petitions and kept up the passion and incredible support for the show,” he continued. “And a fist pump, ouch, for Dana Walden and Gary Newman at Fox for not only listening to the fans, but for making the bold move to bring Last Man Standing back. I’m sure audiences will be curious to see what we look like after all these years. Oh, has it only been one year? Well, just goes to show you – a lot can happen in a year.”
Last Man Standing was ABC’s second most-watched comedy, after Modern Family, averaging 8.3 million viewers in Live + 7 for the 2016-2017 season. Among the key Adults 18-49 demographic, the series averaged a 1.7/7. The series ranked as the No. 1 new program across all syndication when it debuted off-net during the 2016-2017 season.
“Last Man Standing ended too soon and the outcry from the fans has been deafening,” said Gary Newman and Dana Walden, Chairmen and CEOs, Fox Television Group. “We’ve wanted to put the show back together since its final taping a year ago, and Tim never gave up hope either. Thanks to its millions of devoted viewers and the irrepressible Tim Allen, we haven’t seen the last of Last Man Standing.”
Fox actually seriously considered rescuing Last Man Standing last May, following its surprise cancellation by ABC after six seasons. Fox brass tried to fit Last Man Standing into the schedule but couldn’t find a way to do it. Fox had been out of the multi-camera business for a while and didn’t have a multi-camera comedy to pair the now-canceled Last Man with. This development season, Fox put an emphasis on multi-camera comedies with several pilots, Rel, The Cool Kids, both of which were ordered to series, and the recently ordered untitled Rob McElhenney & Rob Rosell project, which also is set in middle America.
Last summer, there was one more attempt to find a home for Last Man Standing at CMT, which had had success with the sitcom’s reruns, though talks did not result in a deal.
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Efforts to resurrect Last Man Standing were reignited by the success of ABC’s Roseanne revival this spring. Besides a star of a popular 1990s ABC sitcom (Roseanne‘s Roseanne Barr and Home Improvement‘s Allen), the two shows also share leads who both are supporters of President Donald Trump and reflect views rarely seen in scripted TV series.
The cancellation of Last Man Standing was met with very strong reaction from fans last May. It became a rallying cry for conservatives, with a petition launched that called for ABC to bring back “a show that appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify; namely conservative values.” A year later, the petition has amassed 438,000 signatures and there is still enthusiasm among LMS fans about the show coming back, especially following Roseanne‘s return.