After weeks of speculation, its officially happening: Tim Allen and Last Man Standing will be back on air in the 2018-2019 TV season, thanks to Fox. The series was canceled last year after six seasons on ABC—much to Allens chagrin—but now it will find new life, with the same original cast. Fans of the recently canceled Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mick, and The Last Man on Earth might be bummed—but considering that Last Man Standing was the second-most-watched comedy on ABC before it got canceled, averaging 8.3 million viewers in Live+7 ratings for its final season, it seems safe to guess that Fox is thrilled.
When Fox announced the end of three comedies on Thursday, many critics immediately homed in on rumors about Last Man Standings potential migration. As Roseanne made a splash—both by sparking conversation and lighting up Nielsen charts—momentum behind Allens effort to get his old show back on air started to grow. Now, Allens character, Mike Baxter—a married and conservative father of three girls who, per Foxs press release, “tries to maintain his manliness in a world increasingly dominated by women”—is officially back. Appropriately enough, Allen used a baseball metaphor to describe his excitement.
“Excited?” Allen said in Foxs press release. “Team LMS was in the sixth inning, ahead by four runs, stands were packed and then for no reason, they call off the game. It leaves you sitting in the dugout, holding a bat and puzzled. Now we get the news from Fox that its time to get back out on that diamond—hell yes, Im excited!”
“When I heard the offer to create more episodes of Last Man Standing, I did a fist pump so hard I threw my back out,” Allen continued. “Its the fans! I could not be more grateful for the fans who wrote petitions and kept up the passion and incredible support for the show. And a fist pump, ouch, for 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. Im sure audiences will be curious to see what we look like after all these years. Oh, has it only been one year? Well, just goes to show you—a lot can happen in a year.”
Soon after Last Man Standings cancellation, fans started petitions to bring it back. Allen, meanwhile, suggested that ABCs decision might have been politically motivated: “There is nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative character,” Allen told Norm Macdonald last fall. “Hes mitigated by a family of women who had a difference of opinions, but the guy was a likable guy.” The network denied that rationale: “Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings, but once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Fridays, that was where we landed,” said ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey of the choice to kill the show last spring.
Either way, Foxs decision is easy to understand: the series had strong ratings that, presumably, will persist now that its found new life. Newman and Walden, co-chairmen and chief executive officers at Fox, both referenced fans outcry as a motivator for picking up the comedy. “Weve wanted to put the show back together since its final taping a year ago,” the two said in a joint statement, “and Tim never gave up hope either. Thanks to its millions of devoted viewers and the irrepressible Tim Allen, we havent seen the last of Last Man Standing.”
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Full ScreenPhotos:The Must-See Looks from the Solo PremiereLaura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.