‘Roseanne’ Ratings, Not Politics, Emboldened Fox To Revive ‘Last Man Standing’ Execs Say

Fox execs said the success of ABC’s Roseanne revival emboldened them to revive Last Man Standing, but insisted they had been trying to return the Tim Allen starrer that ABC canceled two seasons back.

“Everyone took a good hard look at the success of Roseanne,” Fox TV group co-chair/CEO Dana Walden told reporters on a morning new-schedule phoner. “It reminded us we have a huge iconic star in our Fox family in Tim Allen. And we have been talking to Tim through the year,” she said.

Fox execs always felt, she said, that ABC, “for whatever reason” had not prioritized the comedy series, which was produced at Fox. It had clocked an average of 8.5 million viewers on the Disney-owned network “with very little promotion,” she noted.

“So yeah, we were emboldened by the performance of Roseanne,” Walden said. “it made us think this is a good opportunity for broadcast viewers” to watch a “beloved star” in a multi-cam comedy which is an “easier entry point” than a serialized comedy for new viewers.

Asked how Allen’s conservative politics had played into the show’s ABC cancellation, as had been much debated back when it happened, Fox co-chair Gary Newman came to that network’s defense.

“I’m not sure I think that [ABC’s] cancellation had anything to do with politics,” he said.

“If anything, it had more to do with vertical integration,” he insisted, adding, “Tim’s personal politics are not a big feature of the show” which “never delved deeply” into politics.

“It’s a funny show and audiences responded to it,” he explained simply, saying now is the time to bring it back, after a season of dormancy, Fox having added Thursday Night Football to its arsenal.