Recently, ABC cancelled the TV show Last Man Standing after six seasons on the air. The ratings have come down quite a bit over the years but, should this be the end of the sitcom? Would you watch a seventh season of Last Man Standing on another channel?
A family comedy, Last Man Standing centers on Mike Baxter (Tim Allen), a marketing director for the Outdoor Man sporting goods stores. Mike likes to think he rules the roost at home but his wife (Nancy Travis) and three daughters (Amanda Fuller, Molly Ephraim, and Kaitlyn Dever) are no pushovers. The cast also includes Christoph Sanders, Hector Elizondo, Flynn Morrison, Jordan Masterson, and Jonathan Adams.
If you look at the ratings alone, ABC’s cancellation of Last Man Standing was a bit surprising. Six seasons in and the show was earning an average of 1.15 in the 18-49 demo and 6.41 million viewers. While it was 15th in the all-important demo, the sitcom was the network’s third most-watched scripted TV shows for the 2016-2017 season.
Unfortunately, advertisers prize the demo numbers and this show skews older. That likely played a role in the comedy series being shifted from Tuesdays to Fridays all the way back to season two.
With the cancellation of Last Man Standing and lower-rated Dr. Ken, ABC has moved away from Friday comedies and has shifted Once Upon a Time and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD to that night for the Fall 2017 season. Both of these shows have been on the air for several years and their best ratings are behind them. However, they are both owned by ABC Studios, will make money for the company for many years to come (via syndication, streaming, and international sales), and can be used to promote related Disney properties. Once has also dropped most of its cast which will bring its cost down.
Because fewer people are watching television in the traditional way (with the commercials), networks are depending on other streams of income to pay for their programming. For this reason, the networks are leaning heavily toward only picking up shows they can own and monetize in multiple ways.
Last Man Standing does well in syndication but ABC doesn’t own the program so they don’t get any of those profits.
Like most venerable shows, Last Man Standing is likely expensive to produce (Allen earns an estimated $235k an episode) and ABC may not be able to recoup their costs, even with lowered licensing fees.
Deadline reports that FOX was considering picking up Last Man Standing as 20th Century Fox Television produces the show. The network ended up passing, likely because they aren’t airing traditional multi-camera sitcoms anymore and are leaning toward “edgy” comedies to try to attract younger viewers.
Unless the studio is willing to cut costs and another outlet steps up, there may not be another viable option for continuing Last Man Standing.
Are you a fan of the Tim Allen sitcom? Would you watch a seventh season on another channel or, are six seasons and 130 episodes enough? Please vote in our poll and tell us what you think below.