For the first time in its seven-season history on two networks, Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing will not be on the fall schedule.
Despite the comedy’s strong ratings performance in its first season on Fox, it has been held for later in the season. Last Man Standing had to leave its long-time Friday home as WWE’s SmackDown Live takes over the night in the fall, and was not assigned another slot on the Fox fall schedule, which will feature no live-acting comedies for the first time in years.
“We set some comedy goals, one of which was ramping up our animation lineup; that was our No. 1 comedy target,” Fox Entertainment President Michael Thorn said during Fox’s upfront call Monday morning. He noted the three new animated series ordered for next season, including Bless the Harts, which got the post-Simpsons slot on the fall schedule.
“One of the other goals was to find a new companion to Last Man Standing,” which the network found in new family sitcom Outmatched,” Thorn said. And “lastly, it was expanding the brand with shows like What Just Happened??!”
FOX CEO Charlie Collier noted that the network is a “52-week programmer” spreading its originals throughout the year.
UPDATE: Last Man Standing will premiere in January on a new night, Thursday, at 8 PM, followed by new comedy series Outmatched and drama Filthy Rich.
Despite airing on the lower-trafficked Friday night, Last Man Standing ranks as Fox’s second most watched and third highest-rated scripted series this season in Live+7.
Last Man Standing, which comes from former Fox sister studio 20th Century Fox TV, now part of Disney, is averaging more than 11 million multi-platform viewers, ranking as the No. 1 scripted program on Friday night, with a 29% advantage over No. 2 Blue Bloods. The series improves upon Fox’s year-ago Friday 8:00-8:30 PM half-hour by +50% in Adults 18-49 and +112% in Total Viewers. Last Man Standing’s fall 2018 premiere was the most-watched Friday regular comedy telecast on any network in 15 years.
Created by Jack Burditt, Last Man Standing is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. Kevin Abbott, Matt Berry, Kevin Hench, Ed Yeager, Tim Allen, Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy, Becky Clements, Richard Baker and Rick Messina are executive producers. Abbott serves as the series’ showrunner.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.