Fox picked up 'Last Man Standing' after being 'emboldened' by response to 'Roseanne'

The "Roseanne" Effect has started.

Fox confirmed this week that the network picked up a new season of "Last Man Standing" — the previously-canceled ABC comedy starring Tim Allen — after being "emboldened" by the response to the reboot of "Roseanne" this spring.

Both shows feature '90s sitcoms stars playing lead characters with conservative views who clash with their liberal family members.

While executives clarified that they were interested in "Last Man Standing" (produced by its own studio, Twentieth Century Fox Television) long before "Roseanne" debuted in March with a jaw-dropping 18 million viewers, seeing those numbers helped.

"Obviously, I think everyone took a good hard look at the performance of 'Roseanne.' It did so well, and it certainly did remind us that we have a huge iconic comedy star in our Fox family in Tim Allen," said Dana Walden, chairman and chief executive officer for Fox Television Group, on a conference call to announce the network's new fall 2018 schedule. "('Last Man Standing') is a really funny show."

She added that Fox was interested in picking up the comedy when ABC canceled it last year, but couldn't find the right place on its schedule. Plus, she said, "ABC didn't really prioritize" the series and it still earned about 8 million viewers every week; so Fox execs are curious to see happens when they put marketing muscle behind it.

There was an outcry from fans after "Last Man Standing" was canceled in 2017, and many blamed the fact that Allen is a conservative-leaning actor who attended President Donald Trump's inauguration. Allen, who compared being a non-liberal in Hollywood these days to "1930s Germany," also hinted that his character's beliefs (Allen plays Mike Baxter, who hates former President Barack Obama and political correctness) caused ABC to ax the show.

"I'm not sure that I think that the cancellation had anything to do with politics," said Gary Newman, chairman and chief executive officer for Fox Television Group; he theorized that ABC was more interested in shows produced by its own studio. "Tim's personal politics aren't a big feature on the show. I think if you were to talk to Tim and our showrunners, they would say Mike Baxter is a centrist. ... He doesn't have extreme views, and the show never delved deeply into political views."


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