Update 5/22/20: Last Man Standing has been renewed! Fox made the announcement that the show is returning as part of a larger reveal of its plans for the 2020-21 season and beyond. Head here for more on Fox's lineup for next season.
Previously 5/8/20: Last Man Standinghas had a helluva ride in its eight seasons. It wasn't that long ago that the sitcom, which stars Tim Allen as family man and business owner Mike Baxter, was unceremoniously dumped by ABC, prompting some of the show's conservative fans to lash out at the network.
Then, as die-hard fans already know, the show got picked up for Season 8 at Fox, but that required a break in airing episodes. When it did return on its new network home, it moved from Friday to Thursday, this time with a new actress as Mandy (Molly McCook). Last Man Standing started to settle into its new groove, and then coronavirus interrupted production, leaving the show unable to film the Season 8 finale it originally had planned. (For their part, Tim Allen, star Amanda Fuller, and showrunner Kevin Abbott all told TV Guide that while they were bummed about the disruption, the whole team is far more concerned with the health and safety of the crew and everybody at home.)
After all those changes, and the lingering uncertainty of when Hollywood can go back to filming, it's certainly reasonable to wonder if, how, and when Last Man Standing will return for a Season 9. What are the chances the sitcom is going to come back in the fall? Fox has yet to make a definitive announcement, and it was not included in the network's recent announcement of its 2020-2021 lineup, but there are some indications of what to expect for the show's future.
Ratings, of course, are a good starting point. According to viewership data, this season has seem some significant dips in viewership versus seasons past -- even hitting a series low in February. Still, despite declines, Last Man Standing remains in relative good standing compared to other broadcast shows on TV. And given an anticipated drop in pay TV, broadcast shows could suddenly be in a stronger spot than ever before, giving a reliable performer like Last Man Standing a leg up over shows that are untested. And as the NFL moves forward with plans for the 2020 football season, a huge draw that broadcasters often arrange their schedules around, Fox at least has a little more certainty to work with.
There's also the matter of the story on screen: When we last saw the Baxter clan, Eve (Kaitlyn Dever) had come home, and Tim Allen has hinted that fans will likely see more of her going forward. Kristin (Amanda Fuller) went into labor in the Season 8 finale, leaving the show with the promise of a new baby -- and, c'mon, who doesn't want to see a baby? Allen also told TV Guide that Mike and Ryan (Jordan Masterson) would be embracing each other's point of view a little more in a potential next season, which again suggests that the show is planning for the future. So while nothing has been announced officially yet, it's safe to assume Last Man Standing will see a Season 9 -- but the big question is when.
Last Man Standing Season 8 concluded on April 30 on Fox. Previous episodes are available on Fox and Hulu.