Why Fox Revived Tim Allen’s ‘Last Man Standing,’ in Their Words

Tim Allen
ABC/Nicole Wilder

In the midst of a chaotic week of cancellations, pickups, and renewals, Fox’s decision to revive Last Man Standing hasn’t gone unnoticed.

The ex ABC show was among the very few pickups made by the network, which axed a number of its most popular shows, including Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which has since been revived by NBC). Starring Tim Allen, Last Man Standing is a family comedy known for its conservative values and was rumored to have been scrapped by ABC for that reason.

Of course, those rumors mean little after ABC’s success with Roseanne— despite controversy over star Roseanne Barr‘s unwavering support for President Trump. During this week’s Fox Upfront presentations, network heads Dana Walden and Gary Newman spoke about the surprise revival and cancellations.

On the decision to cancel Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Walden said, “It was based on a variety of factors. We love this show, those are great creators, it’s a phenomenal cast. We ordered it throughout five seasons. It’s a great length of time for a single-camera comedy. Ultimately, we felt like we didn’t have the exact right place to schedule it this year.”

The cast of ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which aired Sunday nights on the network, got a 13-episode pickup for a sixth season at NBC. Walden reasoned, “With Thursday Night Football, there were two fewer hours to program… Ultimately, we decided we just didn’t have room for it… we’re really happy its found a new home.”

As for the Last Man Standing pickup, the CEOs revealed that they had been trying to bring the comedy to Fox since last year. “We’ve been talking to Tim [Allen] throughout the year. We tried to move Last Man Standing over last year when ABC decided not to move forward,” Walden continued.

The cast of ‘Roseanne’

She also revealed that the choice, surprisingly, “had nothing to do with Roseanne.” Walden added, “We always felt like ABC didn’t really prioritize Last Man Standing. We always wondered how it would do if it was given a better opportunity and prioritized more in terms of a network’s agenda.”

Fox scheduled the comedy in the Friday night lineup, claiming that they “were emboldened by Roseanne,” and nothing more.

Newman spoke more about what prompted ABC’s cancellation, chalking it up to an unaccommodating schedule — a decision that was less political and “if anything, it had something more to do with vertical integration.”

Last Man Standing, Returns Fall 2018, Fridays, 8/7c, Fox