NEW YORK — Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing,” canceled last year by ABC, is being resurrected by Fox next season because it’s a “great comedy” and not as a conservative statement, Fox executives said Monday.
Some fans may be drawn to the family sitcom because of Allen’s personal political views, but they “aren’t really a big feature of the show,” Fox Television Group executive Gary Newman said. “We just think it’s a really funny show” with general appeal, he said in announcing the network’s 2018-19 schedule with fellow chairman and CEO Dana Walden.
The success of the rebooted “Roseanne” on ABC emboldened Fox to revive “Last Man Standing,” which is produced by its studio, but the decision was already in the works, Walden said. The network needed to find the right spot for it, she said.
Fox made room for Allen’s comedy and more, canceling a total of five shows including “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” ”The Last Man on Earth,” ”The Mick,” ”Lucifer” and “The Exorcist.” NBC quickly picked up “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Fox will introduce an equal number of shows next season, including “The Cool Kids,” an ensemble comedy about rebellious friends in a retirement community. The stars include David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Vicki Lawrence.
Walden said that after a five-season run by “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” the network didn’t have the right place to put it. But Fox was aware others were interested in the show and is “happy” it found a home, she said.
The network and producers went to last-minute extremes to keep “Lethal Weapon” in the lineup, bringing Seann William Scott (“American Pie”) onboard to co-star with Damon Wayans. Scott replaces Clayne Crawford, reportedly fired because of repeated outbursts on the set.
Fox and other broadcast networks are presenting their new schedules to advertisers in New York this week.
The Fox executives said they are counting on the addition of football on Thursday night, in addition to its Sunday games, to help boost its new and returning shows. Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Michael Strahan will host the pregame show.
The network has ground to make up in ratings: Fox is averaging 5 million viewers in prime time this season, down 17 percent from 6 million last year. Among its competitors, CBS is averaging 9 million, down 8 percent from 9.7 million, while ABC is 6.1 million, down 1 percent from 6.2 million.