Last Man Standing is an American television sitcom starring Tim Allen that aired on ABC from October 11, 2011 to March 31, 2017 and it was moved to FOX by September 28, 2018. The series was created by Jack Burditt.
On May 10, 2017, ABC canceled the series after six seasons. The following year, FOX picked up the series for a seventh season of thirteen episodes. The series ended its run on ABC on March 31, 2017 and will return on FOX fall season in 2018.
On April 18, 2019 Fox renewed the series for an eighth season
The first five seasons were available on Netflix until September 2017, when the full series was moved to Hulu.
The series follows Mike Baxter, a senior executive and director of marketing for an outdoor sporting goods store chain based in Denver, Colorado, whose world is filled with his wife, three daughters, and grandson.
Cast and Characters
- Tim Allen as Mike Baxter
- Nancy Travis as Vanessa Baxter
- Amanda Fuller (Season 2-current) / Alexandra Krosney (Season 1) as Kristin Baxter
- Molly Ephraim as Amanda "Mandy" Baxter (Season 1-6)
- Kaitlyn Dever as Eve Baxter
- Christoph Sanders as Kyle Anderson
- Héctor Elizondo as Edward "Ed" Alzate
- Flynn Morrison (Season 2-6) / Luke and Luke Kruntchev (Season 1) as Boyd Baxter
- Jordan Masterson / Nick Jonas as Ryan Vogelson
- Jonathan Adams as Chuck Larabee
- Robert Forester as Bud Baxter
- Erika Alexander as Carol Larabee
- Carla Jimenez as Blanca
- Sarah Gilman as Cammy Harris
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas as John Baker (reunite to Allen on Home Improvement)
- Christina Moore as April
- Danielle Bisutti as Michelle
- Tye Sheridan as Justin
- Joely Fisher as Wendi Garcin
- Jay Leno as Joe Leonard
- Travis Tope as Rob
- Richard Karn as Bill McKendree (reunite to Allen on Home Improvement)
- Bill Engvall as Reverend Paul
- Patricia Richardson as Helen Potts (reunite to Allen on Home Improvement)
- Main article: Episodes
|Season||Episodes||First air date||Last air date||Network|
|Season 1||24||October 11, 2011||May 8, 2012||ABC|
|Season 2||18||November 2, 2012||March 22, 2013|
|Season 3||22||September 20, 2013||April 25, 2014|
|Season 4||22||October 3, 2014||April 17, 2015|
|Season 5||22||September 25, 2015||April 22, 2016|
|Season 6||22||September 23, 2016||March 31, 2017|
|Season 7||22||September 28, 2018||May 10, 2019||FOX|
|Season 8||TBA||January 2, 2020||2020||FOX|
Development and casting
Last Man Standing first appeared on ABC's development slate in late 2010 when writer Jack Burditt received a put pilot commitment from the network under the original title Man Up. In January 2011, ABC green-lighted production of a pilot episode under the title Last Days of Man. On February 18, Tim Allen, who had been attached to the potential series from the beginning, officially joined the project in the lead role. At the end of March, Nancy Travis joined the cast in the leading female role as Allen's "smart and loving wife who doesn't miss much". Soon thereafter, Héctor Elizondo came on board in a supporting role as the boss to Allen's character.
Cancellation and revival
On May 10, 2017, ABC canceled Last Man Standing after six seasons, despite the series being the second-most-watched ABC sitcom during the 2016–17 season (based on Live+7 figures), with ratings remaining mostly steady during its sixth season. A representative for 20th Century Fox Television said cancellation decisions are made by ABC. "This was a scheduling decision," wrote Jori Arancio, senior vice president of ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios. ABC and its production partner for the show, 20th Century Fox Television, typically negotiate licensing fees prior to each season; however, the network decided to cancel the show without doing so. Also, the contract between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC for the show, in which 20th Century Fox Television covered the cost of production, had expired after six seasons. Had the series been renewed for a seventh season, ABC would have been required to pick up Last Man Standing's production costs, which the network was unwilling to do.
The cancellation was met with outrage from the show's fans, many of whom took to social media to voice their displeasure and petition for another network to pick up the show. It also happened some months after lead actor Tim Allen (who is also a real-life Republican) said in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, that being a Republican in Hollywood is "like 1930s Germany. You gotta be real careful around here, you know. You'll get beat up if you don't believe what everybody believes." His comment was widely criticized, especially his comparing the treatment of Republicans in Hollywood with Nazi Germany.
A viewer petition on the website Change.org calling for ABC to reinstate Last Man Standing surpassed 380,000 signatures as of May 23, 2017. In a conference call with reporters earlier in May, ABC president Channing Dungey stated, "Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me, because it was a steady performer. Once we made the decision not to continue with comedy on Friday, it was just kind of that's where we landed." Dungey cited studio ownership, future creative direction, ratings and viewer engagement as all factors in her decision. A year later, the petition's signatures had grown to 438,000.
Tim Allen voiced his displeasure with the cancellation, tweeting on May 16, 2017: "Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years."
On May 20, 2017, Howard Kurtzman, president of 20th Century Fox Television, reportedly showed some interest in his studio continuing to produce the show. "We're starting to explore that," Kurtzman said. "...[Fox Co-President] Jonnie [Davis] and I are hopeful that we can find another home for it." Variety also confirmed in an exclusive report that 20th Century Fox Television would shop the series to other networks and streaming services in hopes it would be picked up for a seventh season; another home was not quickly found, however.
In August 2017, Allen expressed his appreciation for support by the show's fans to bring it back, and said the talent behind the show had much more to add. On May 3, 2018, Allen tweeted that a return "just might be a reality" and prompted the show's supporters to "keep it up". The same day, TVLine reported that Fox was "poised to" resurrect Last Man Standing for the 2018–19 TV season, and that Tim Allen is "officially on board". Deadline Hollywood reported that Fox was in talks for another season, but it was "by no means a sure thing", suggesting it would depend on whether the actors could be re-signed "at reasonable salaries". On May 11, 2018, Fox TV's CEOs and chairmen announced that Fox had officially picked up Last Man Standing for a seventh season. The show was renewed for an eight season by Fox on April 18, 2019.
Last Man Standing received generally negative reviews from critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, season one holds an approval rating of 15% based on 33 reviews, and an average rating of 4.14/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Last Man Standing is a thoroughly middling sitcom relying on jokes that feel alternately dated or hostile." On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 33 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
The Hollywood Reporter called the series "a predictable sitcom with a stupid premise and bad acting." Los Angeles Times: "The jokes and plots have been efficiently constructed, but most have no traction; they slide right off you, and the characters themselves seem disconnected from one another." Entertainment Weekly offered a slightly more favorable review of the show: "When I look at the now-rounded softness of Tim Allen, and note once again how his sandpaper voice contrasts winningly with his hopeful eyes, it's impossible to plunge a shiv into this series."
Season two of the series holds an approval rating of 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Entertainment Weekly commented: "I think it's time the folks involved with Last take a closer look at All in the Family, in which the prejudice was built around real jokes." The A.V. Club: "The problem with Last Man Standing's attempts to go political is exemplified by the first scene of the season première, which remains one of the most uncomfortable scenes of television I've ever watched ... doing its best to push buttons in the audience that don't need to be pushed, as if it thinks what made [Norman] Lear's sitcoms a success was the yelling or the mentions of social issues that people sometimes argued about." Philly.com wrote about season three: "The unlikely comeback vehicle for Tim Allen, Last Man Standing on ABC, is a thoroughly traditional, absolutely charming sitcom. [...] Last Man is both economical and efficient, getting excellent comic mileage out of the most marginal bit players."
The series is particularly popular among conservatives, many of whom viewed the show as a counterpoint to Modern Family, another 20th Century Fox sitcom that aired on ABC at the same time and featured more liberal ideologies. A study conducted during the 2016 U.S. presidential election found that it was the tenth most popular show on television with Republicans.
|DVD Name||Ep #||Release Date|
|The Complete First Season||24||May 13, 2014|
|The Complete Second Season||18|
|The Complete Third Season||22||October 28, 2014|
|The Complete Fourth Season||22||October 6, 2015|
|The Complete Fifth Season||22||June 26, 2018|
|The Complete Sixth Season||22||June 26, 2018|
On September 4, 2015, the series joined the CMT Network with a mini-marathon of episodes. On September 3, 2015, it was announced that ABC Family (now Freeform) had obtained syndication rights to the series, which began airing episodes on September 28, 2015. Additionally, on May 15, 2015, it was announced that Hallmark Channel has obtained the rights to the sitcom and began airing the series in January 2016. The first five seasons were available for streaming on Netflix until September 2017, when the full series was moved to Hulu.