Those proclaiming that embattled comedy title Last Man Standing would go out with a whimper may be shocked to hear that it has instead debuted with a bang, Variety reports. The laugh-track enabled comedic offering kicked off its seventh season on Fox last night, accruing an average 1.8 rating amongst the key 18-49 age demographic, which amounts to over 8 million viewers for the show’s 8 p.m. time slot.
The show — which has an admitted conservative bias according to star Tim Allen — is finding new wind in its sails after an abrupt cancellation by former host network ABC. USA Today details that Allen is no fan of what he describes as “the liberal bubble of Hollywood,” but is clear to draw a distinction between himself and the character that he portrays on Last Man Standing, sporting-good store head honcho Mike Baxter.
“Tim Allen is not Mike Baxter. If you want Tim Allen’s opinion, come see me in Vegas… I’m much much more anarchist-thinking because I’m a comedian. I take shots at everybody, but it’s literally to make you laugh.”
Calling out what he aptly describes as tired and incessant jokes in contemporary comedy about President Trump — from his tweets to his hairstyle to his rhetoric — Allen let slip that there would be no mentions of the 45th President of the United States during the show’s seventh season.
TV Ratings: ‘Last Man Standing’ Surges in Fox Debut https://t.co/3HxMqzbCbM
— Variety (@Variety) September 29, 2018
As Esquire notes, a public battle in the press ensued following the show’s cancellation by ABC following the conclusion of its sixth season. For their part, ABC claimed that the show was not canceled due to the conservative nature of the content and its lead actor’s political beliefs — but rather that the network decided to move away from comedy programs on Friday nights, The Hollywood Reporter details.
According to Vanity Fair, Tim Allen wasn’t buying it, stating that there’s “nothing more dangerous than a likable conservative character,” particularly where it concerns Hollywood executives and creatives.
Given that ABC is also the network responsible for crossing out Roseanne Barr and her namesake show after the comedienne made a rather controversial joke about Democratic Party stalwart Valerie Jarrett — and had been feeling pressure to act on Roseanne’s outspoken Trump support hitherto, according to Vox — Allen’s commentary may have at least a grain of truth behind it.
It would appear that — regardless of political persuasion and motivations — Fox’s gambit to pick up the canceled ABC property was a wise one. Last Man Standing often engages with timely sociopolitical issues without sounding overly preachy, and presents a gamut of personalities from all walks of life in an honest, yet funny, manner — at least according to fans of the program.
As Entertainment Weekly reports, this appeal to the middle ground — and all who inhabit it — is ramped up even further in the show’s breakout seventh season.