In a conference call with reporters Monday morning, Fox Television Chairmen and CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden said they had been trying to find a place on their schedule for the multi-camera sitcom since it was canceled by ABC last year, and the success of ABC's Roseanne reboot convinced them that there was no time like the present to do so.
"We were emboldened more by the success of Roseanne," Walden said. "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... It had nothing to do with Roseanne that we were interested in the show in the first place."
"Last Man is a proven hit... and fans have clamored for its return," added Newman, noting that the show was drawing eight million viewers in its final season on ABC.
Last Man Standing is produced by 20th Century Fox, so Newman and Walden already had an existing relationship with Allen and they said they've been talking to the Home Improvementalum about bringing the show over to Fox for years. This fall, the network will put the comedy in its Fridays at 8 p.m. ET time slot, hoping that it will draw some of the same viewers who tune in for Thursday Night Football the previous evening — an audience for whom Newman says Last Man Standing is "tailor-made."
Despite the comparisons to Roseanne, Newman insists that Allen's conservative politics will not factor into the show. He also disputed the notion that Allen's unwavering support of Donald Trump was a reason ABC decided to remove the show from its lineup.
"Tim's personal politics really aren't a big feature of the show," Newman said. "[His character] Mike Baxter is a centrist [and] doesn't have extreme political views. The show never really delved deeply into political views. It really wasn't about that... From time to time, there may be a moment in the show that deals with current politics, but it doesn't feel like a soapbox."
It appears as though Fox won't be shying away from any controversy surrounding the revival, and instead is prepared to throw a lot of marketing weight behind it.
"We always felt like, for whatever reason, ABC didn't really prioritize Last Man Standing," Walden pointed out, again citing the 8.5 million viewers the show drew despite "little promotion." "We always wondered how it would do if it were... prioritized more."
Looks like we're about to find out.
Get more information about Fox's fall lineup here.