A year after it was canceled at ABC, “Last Man Standing” is being revived. FOX has closed a deal to bring back the series in 2018-19 as (presumably) a cornerstone of a new comedy brand on the network.
Reports of a pending deal emerged last week when star and executive producer Tim Allen signed on for a revival. FOX and its (for now) sister studio 20th Century Fox TV have also re-signed cast members Nancy Travis, Jonathan Adams, Amanda Fuller, Christoph Sanders and Jordan Masterson.
Other regulars from the show’s six-year run on ABC, including Kaitlyn Dever, Molly Ephraim and Hector Elizondo, will recur on the series based on their availability, per a network source. The network and studio have not yet closed a deal with a showrunner.
“I could not be more grateful for the fans who wrote petitions and kept up the passion and incredible support for the show,” Allen says in a statement. “And a fist pump … for [network and studio heads] 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.”
The revival of “Last Man Standing” comes a day after FOX canceled three shows — “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “The Last Man on Earth” and “The Mick” — with lower ratings but passionate fan bases that were emblematic of FOX’s comedy brand in recent years.
Going into next season, and with looming changes in Fox’s corporate structure, the network is making a big shift in the kind of live-action comedy it’s pursuing. (Long-running animated series “The Simpsons” is already renewed for next season, and “Family Guy” and “Bob’s Burgers” are likely to follow.)
In addition to “Last Man Standing,” FOX has also picked up two new multi-camera, live-audience comedies, “Rel” and “The Cool Kids.” They’ll be the first multi-camera shows on the network since “Mulaney” in 2014-15.
“Last Man Standing” was still drawing solid ratings for ABC last season — a 1.2 rating in adults 18-49 and 6.41 million viewers the night it aired, rising to 1.7 and 8.3 million after a week of delayed viewing.
In canceling the series, ABC cited the show’s rising costs and the fact that it wasn’t able to profit from its afterlife, since it was produced by an outside studio. The network also opted to move away from comedies on Friday nights.
As it happens, 20th Century Fox may be acquired by ABC’s parent company, Disney, in the next year or so, which would put FOX in the same position of not having a back-end stake in the show.