The high-concept comedy starring Will Forte was solid out of the gate, launching to a 2.4 L+SD in 18-49 for its hourlong series premiere. But it was the show’s DVR/online viewing prowess and the strength of its creative that ultimately sealed the renewal.
Following the solid debut demo rating, which rose to a 3.3 in L+3, with the premiere nabbing 1.3 million streams in the first three days, Last Man On Earth had followed a ratings trajectory consistent with a serialized series, slipping to, 3.0, 2.6 and 2.7/2.4 in L+3 (18-49) for the most recent back-to-back originals. But those are still solid enough numbers, Last Man is very strong in the younger/male demos, ranking as the N.1 new comedy this season in adults 18-34 and men 18-49, it wins its Sunday 9:30 PM slot in adults 18-49 and 18-34, regularly builds onto its Family Guy lead-in, and the network brass had been happy with the newbie’s creative direction.
“We knew we had something special with The Last Man on Earth,” said Fox Entertainment president David Madden. “It’s one of those rare shows that continues to add depth and dimension to its unique premise, week after week.”
Last Man On Earth’s renewal also provides a shot in the arm to the straight-to-series model, which has been struggling on broadcast TV, failing to produce breakouts, including recent Fox offerings, dramas Gracepoint and Hieroglyph and comedy Weird Loners, which, like Last Man, was ordered direct-to-series last spring. Gracepoint ran for one season, Hieroglyph didn’t get on the air while new entry Weird Loners is off to a low start and unlikely to continue beyond its initial run.
With Last Man, Fox has renewed three freshman series, including dramas Empire and Gotham. Also set to return next season are comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl and drama Sleepy Hollow. The renewal of veteran Bones hinges on making new deals with stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel.
From writer-producer Forte and directors/producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord, The Last Man on Earth chronicles the life and adventures of Phil Miller (Forte), an average guy – and humanity’s last hope – who discovers what life is like when no one is telling you what you can and cannot do. Kristen Schaal, January Jones and Mel Rodriguez co-star in the series, created and written by Forte. Lord and Miller directed the pilot for Last Man, which hails from 20th Century Fox Television. The series is executive-produced by Forte, Lord, Miller and Seth Cohen.