To the dismay of many viewers, the ABC’s recently canceled “Last Man Standing” have recent reports suggested production of the show might be picked up by another network.
It was considered the perfect sitcom for the Trump era, hitting ratings highs in its sixth season. But that didn’t save Last Man Standing from a cancellation.
ABC has opted not to renew the longtime Friday 8 PM anchor for Season 7 despite the fact that the blue-collar sitcom was ABC’s second most watched comedy this season with 8.1 million viewers in Live +7, only behind flagship Modern Family (8,7 million). It was the third most watched ABC scripted series overall behind Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family.
The Tim Allen-starring multi-camera sitcom often had gone down to the wire on renewals, with ABC and producing studio 20th Century Fox TV wrangling over the series’ license fee. ABC is supposed to cover the cost of the show at this point in its run, and LMS is on the higher end for a multi-camera sitcom because of the marquee salary Allen commands, but 20th TV had agreed to license fee reductions in the past and reportedly were open to another one. This time, there was no negotiating or bargaining, with ABC simply deciding against another season.
With a central character who is a political conservative and devout Christian adhering to traditional American values, the blue-collar comedy appeals to viewers in the Heartland, a constituency that helped elect Donald Trump as president and has been energized post-election as evidenced by the ratings success of new USA drama Shooter.
That was also a swath of America ABC had been looking to reflect better, mostly on the drama side, as the network’s entertainment president Channing Dungey has noted this season.
ABC told Fox News at the time “this was a scheduling decision,” while an online petition accused the network of booting the show over its conservative values.
CMT, which already carries reruns of the show, is in early talks with the studio that produced “Last Man Standing” about the financial feasibility of CMT freshly produced episodes, according to Deadline. The Hollywood news outlet reported the deal was considered “a long shot though not impossible.”
And it’s got a precedent. CMT reached an agreement to continue “Nashville, another canceled ABC series, with the help of Hulu.
Finding a new home for “Last Man Standing” has been a priority for producer of the show, 20th Century Fox Television.
“If there’s a way to bring it back, we will explore those opportunities,” 20th Century Fox President Howard Kurtzman told The Hollywood Reporter in May.
“Last Man Standing,” which aired on Friday nights, had one its strongest seasons last year, ranking as ABC’s second-most watched comedy.
The possibility of a rebirth on a new network is great news for “Last Man Standing” as well as its fans. Actually, it’s great news for any show out of production. The probability of being picked up after a cancellation doesn’t happen often, but in this case, it should happen.