On Friday, the debut of Tim Allen’s sitcom "Last Man Standing" drew an impressive 8 million viewers on Fox, according to Variety. The outlet notes that the sitcom’s 1.8 in adults 18-49 is the highest the show has received since its second season on ABC.
"Last Man Standing" began its initial six-season run on ABC in 2011. It was cancelled in 2017 despite being ABC’s second highest-rated comedy, trailing "Modern Family" by approximately half a million viewers in Live+7 ratings.
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey claimed that the cancellation was due to "many factors," one of which was the network’s move away from comedy on Friday nights. There was also speculation that the cancellation was due in part to licensing costs as the show was produced by 20th Century Fox.
Whatever the reason, Dungey insists that "politics had absolutely nothing to do with it."
Following the cancellation, Allen said he was "blindsided," adding:
There’s nothing more dangerous to me, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative. That was the most dangerous thing. Because he was mitigated on his show by a family of women that had different opinions — but the guy was a likable guy, a principled guy, just about work and ethics and all this stuff. I think there’s nothing more dangerous now than a likable conservative character.
Shortly after the cancellation, a Change.org petition was signed by nearly 450,000 people protesting ABC’s decision, and asking for a revival. Where ABC was unmoved, Fox saw an opportunity, announcing in May that they had picked up the sitcom for a seventh season.
It appears, at least for now, that Fox made the right call.