EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Kevin Abbott, creator/executive producer/showrunner of new ABC comedy series Malibu Country and executive producer of the network’s sophomore comedy Last Man Standing, has gone on indefinite medical leave from the two shows after checking himself into a rehab facility. I hear Abbott, a family man, made the decision to seek help and has the support of Malibu Country star/executive producer Reba McEntire and her husband/manager, Narvel Blackstock, also an executive producer on the show. For the time being, Abbott’s showrunner duties on Malibu Country are being divvied up among the show’s senior writing-producing staff. The series, slated to premiere November 2, is several episodes into production on its 13-episode order, and shooting has not been impacted by Abbott’s departure for now.
Abbott’s absence is not expected to affect production on the Tim Allen starrer Last Man Standing, which installed Tim Doyle as new showrunner after Abbott’s pilot Malibu Country got picked up to series in May. (Abbott remains an executive producer.) It was very busy last year for Abbott, who juggled duties as consulting producer on TV Land’s Retired At 35, writer-executive producer on Malibu Country, and executive producer/showrunner on Last Man Standing, which he joined at the end of 2011.