It was considered too long of a shot for fans of Last Man Standing to get their hopes up, and I hear now it’s final — CMT won’t be picking up canceled ABC comedy series Last Man Standing a new season. CMT, which carries reruns of the Tim Allen-starring sitcom, had engaged in conversations with the studio behind Last Man Standing, 20th Century Fox TV, about possibly ordering original episodes. The talks were only preliminary, exploring the financial feasibility of producing the series for CMT, which would’ve involved virtually everyone on the show taking a pay cut. I hear in the end, the two sides could not agree on the numbers.
With CMT’s appeal in the heartland, where Last Man Standing‘s main fan base resides, and with the comedy already doing well on the network in repeats, CMT was considered a suitable home. But the financials of LMS are challenging as it is at the upper end for a broadcast multi-camera comedy series. Last year, CMT was able to reach an agreement for another canceled ABC series, drama Nashville, but that was done with the help of Hulu, which shared the cost in exchange for next-day streaming rights.
This was not the first effort to save LMS. Back in May, Fox seriously considered rescuing the series, which is solid asset for sibling 0th TV with broadcast and cable syndication deals. The network tried to fit Last Man Standing on the schedule but couldn’t find a way to do it.
The cancellation of Last Man Standing by ABC after six seasons become a rallying cry for conservatives, with a petition launched that calls for ABC to bring back the series and for a boycott of the network if it doesn’t. The petition, which refers to Last Man Standing as a show that appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify — namely conservative values — quickly reached its goal of 150,000 signatures.
The sitcom, which aired on the low-trafficked Friday night, is coming off one of its strongest seasons on ABC, averaging 8.1 million viewers in Live+7 and ranking as ABC’s second-most watched comedy this season, only behind flagship Modern Family (8.7 million), and the third-most watched ABC scripted series overall behind Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family. It was a surprise off-network hit when it launched in broadcast syndication last fall, possibly giving the sitcom an extra boost on ABC where it hit series highs.