Last Man Standing Returns in the Nick of Opportune Time

Written Grateful For Reprieves by Bridger Cunningham.

2017 marked a year which revivals ran rampant, making ABC's cancellation of sturdy Last Man Standing a shocker.  Like Brooklyn 99 fans did for 34 hours before NBC saved the day in the late hours of May 11, a massive outcry of foul emerged.  Several suspected politics played a heavy hand in the decision, as the entertainment industry notoriously swings liberal and LMS shamelessly declared the lead as conservative.  In the end, it came down to business as usual for ABC.  While the series was solid for Fridays, it was an outsourced production in its 6th season, meaning the network could not profit unless LMS could deliver above average in the demos.  Furthermore, network runner Channing Dugney sought directional changes for tired Sundays and needed to sacrifice Fridays to accommodate said changes.

Flash forward one year, and Last Man Standing caught onto the very trends which took its prior run down.  Revivals are still trending, and who better to return than a series still fresh in viewers' minds after 14 months vs. 20 years?  LMS also capitalized on FOX's programming swing and reformatting to upscale/professional appeal.  The show always portrayed its cast members in leading upstanding/realistic lifestyles, which is compatible with its slew of successful dramas which rose to prominence in 2017-18.  Conversely, shows such as The Mick, Gotham or Last Man on Earth either gurgled trashy/damaged characters or supernatural/apocalyptic circumstances which grew repetitive against FOX's new direction.  Add speculation of ABC dangling its tail toward Allen with a Home Improvement revival, raising the ante for FOX to take decisive action and revive Last Man Standing.  FOX recognized a financial powerhouse and aggressively secured an asset.

Lucrative profits are again on the table as the series is now an in-house production, allotting more room for profits and potentially softer ratings from aging.  And with Fridays being a notorious disaster for the network for much of the decade, it is suspected Last Man Standing will recolonize part of this evening as a marquee feature vs. undesirable wasteland slated for dying or weakened shows.  The jury is still out if LMS can revitalize this tired evening, though early indications show promise.

Image result for last man standing castLike Last Man Standing, 2 Broke Girls was also an outsourced production to CBS aged 6 years in 2017.  The differentiation between the two was LMS continued on a steady/growing rhythm vs. 2BG hitting creative potholes and hemorrhaging viewers from too many timeshifts.  Given one year has passed, fans are still freshly grieving LMS vs. having already moved on.  And majority of the cast is intact as well, with Tim Allen, Nancy Travis, Amanda Fuller, Christoph Sanders and Jordan Masterson already locked into contracts.  The door is left open for Hector Elizondo, Molly Ephraim and Kaitlin Dever to recur upon availability, though it is suspected Elizondo may be an easy grab since NBC passed on his upcoming pilot "Guess Who Died."  This core cast can carry the series if one or two members of the cast are pared due to involvement in other projects.

The very grieving spirit which carried Last Man Standing to this monumental achievement may now polarize to the opposite effect as irate fans of cancelled series stand to blame the revival for taking out their beloved shows in favor of LMS (or so it appears to impassioned fans).  Scroll through the message boards (at your own negativity risk) an find LMS is already garnering hateful views.  Many are predicting/wishing for dreadful ratings and collapses.  Add the polarizing political haters, and LMS appears to be a normal series which took a nap for a year.  What these vocal fans must remember is the network likely had their series on the chopping block long before LMS reached the headlines at FOX.  Brooklyn 99 had ratings troubles as recent as LMS' 5th season, and cancellation was speculated for months.  The last two days demonstrated the networks are simply trading sitcoms like checkers.  Give it time, and assets realign.

Despite lead character Mike Baxter's staunch conservative nature, the ensemble characters of Last Man Standing  dominate the middle and left for the proper foiling effect.  Few criticize Black-ish for being unilaterally liberal in political views, so is it this painful to allow a character or two paint an opposing character trait?  No matter how Last Man Standing comes to fruition in the upcoming months, it is bound to generate several exciting headlines.  Enjoy the ride, as this is the trials and tribulations of the entertainment industry.  And of course, congratulations to the cast and production for once again attaining steady employment!

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