It wasn’t hard to notice last night that there was a connection between the three comedy projects that had been expected to get pickups but didn’t: pilots Cristela and Fresh Off The Boat and series Last Man Standing. All three hail from 20th Century Fox TV. I hear the three are part of a negotiation between ABC and the studio that somewhat echoes last year’s four-series negotiation between Sony TV and NBC that included pilots The Blacklist, Welcome To The Family and Night Shift and returning Community. I hear the issue is a request from the network for a license fee reduction on Last Man Standing. I hear the network had made the same request last year after Last Man‘s first season in the lower-trafficked Friday 8 PM slot in what was supposed to be a one-time thing. I hear the studio agreed and Last Man was renewed for a third season.
Further squeezing the license fee for the show may be problematic for the studio as star Tim Allen commands a six-figure per-episode pay check. On the other hand, sibling Twentieth TV had been shopping Last Man for a syndication sale, so getting a fourth season is important to the studio. The standoff impacts 20th TV’s hot comedy prospects Cristela and Fresh Off the Boat, which have become a part of the negotiations. Last year, having a hot pilot, The Blacklist, helped Sony TV get all four projects in the complex negotiation picked up. We’ll see if history will repeat itself with ABC and 20th TV this year.