Fans of Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing can celebrate, as the Fox network announced it will pick up the show for a new season. Originally on ABC, the show was cancelled in May of 2017, which caused an uproar, with fans claiming it was due to Tim Allen’s politically conservative outlook.
When the show was cancelled by ABC, Allen tweeted he was “stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years.” Now, he says the renewal of his show by Fox was so exciting, “I did a fist pump so hard I threw my back out.”
The show features Allen’s character Mike Baxter as a man trying to maintain his manliness in a house dominated by women: his wife (played by Nancy Travis) and three daughters. All of the key actors have signed on for the Fox production.
ABC denied Allen’s politics entered into its decision to cancel the show and said the move was purely motivated by “business and scheduling reasons.” ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey brushed off the claims of politics influencing programming decisions saying, “Tim Allen is a valuable part of the Disney ABC family and has been for a very, very long time.”
Fox’s pick-up of Last Man Standing, known for its politically conservative lead character and blue-collar comedy, comes after ABC’s recent re-launch of Roseanne, a sitcom with a similar perspective that has garnered great ratings.
That Last Man Standing has been doing well in syndication is also a strong reason for Fox’s decision to pick up its own show and support its future syndication.
When ABC cancelled Last Man Standing, the show was being produced by 20th Century Fox Television, with ABC paying a licensing fee to broadcast the series.
If the agreement between ABC and Fox had continued, ABC was on the hook to cover production costs on the show, which is considered on the high end due to the salary Allen commands.
Fox had negotiated license fee reductions in the past and were open to talks, but ABC decided to let the show end instead.
When an “A” level show goes off the air and “B” level shows seem to stay on forever, it’s usually about the money. Being cheaper to produce also means a show doesn’t require high ratings to be more valuable than a higher rated show produced outside the studio.
Now the Fox network has picked up its own show a year later and can profit from its in-house production as well as fill a slot recently vacated by shows it has recently cancelled, including The Last Man on Earth, The Mick and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
In a similar twist to the ABC-Fox kerfuffle with Last Man Standing, after Fox cancelled Brooklyn Nine-Nine, it was picked up by NBC a day later.
NBC’s studio counterpart Universal Television, which produces Brooklyn Nine-Nine, had sold the broadcast rights to the show to Fox after a bidding war in 2013.
When Brooklyn Nine-Nine returns for the 2018-2019 season, it will air on NBC as originally intended.