Last Man Standing (American TV series)

Last Man Standing is an American sitcom created by Jack Burditt for the American Broadcasting Company. The show stars Tim Allen as a senior employee of a sporting goods store in Denver, Colorado, who is a married father of three daughters and a grandfather to his oldest daughter's son, Boyd. Last Man Standing is a joint production by 21 Laps-Adelstein Productions, NestEgg Productions, and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television.

The series originally ran on ABC from 2011 to 2017 for six seasons, and entered syndication in 2015. Despite being ABC's second-highest rated sitcom for the 2016–17 season, it was revealed in May 2017 that the network had declined to renew Last Man Standing for a seventh season. Media publications reported that ABC was unwilling to cover the production costs for a seventh season on behalf of 20th Century Fox Television. One year later, the Fox Broadcasting Company announced it had picked up the show for a seventh season, which premiered on September 28, 2018.[1]

On April 18, 2019, Fox renewed the series for an eighth season.[2]

Last Man Standing
Last Man Standing intertitle
GenreSitcom
Created byJack Burditt
Starring
Composer(s)Monte Montgomery
Carl Thiel
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes152 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
CinematographyDonald A. Morgan
Editor(s)Pamela J. Marshall
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time21 minutes
Production company(s)
  • 21 Laps-Adelstein Productions
  • NestEgg Productions
  • Double Wide Productions (season 1)
  • Mr. Big Shot Fancy-Pants Productions (seasons 2–4)
  • Lyonsberry Productions (seasons 5–6)
  • 20th Century Fox Television
Distributor20th Television
Release
Original networkABC (2011–2017)
Fox (2018–present)
Picture format720p (HDTV)
Original releaseOctober 11, 2011 –
present
External links
Website

Premise

The series follows Mike Baxter, a senior executive and director of marketing for an outdoor sporting goods store chain based in Denver, Colorado. His home life is initially filled with his wife, three daughters, and a grandson, but later extends to the young men who are married to or dating his daughters.

Cast and characters

Main

  • Tim Allen as Michael "Mike" Baxter: Mike is a father of three daughters and the director of marketing for the Outdoor Man chain of sporting goods stores. Mike tends to support traditional, conservative values.[3]
  • Nancy Travis as Vanessa Baxter, Mike's wife: Vanessa is a geologist working in the energy industry. In season four, Vanessa becomes frustrated with her job and decides to become a high-school science teacher. After being laid off as a teacher due to budget cuts, Vanessa begins her own tutoring business.
  • Alexandra Krosney (season 1) and Amanda Fuller (seasons 2–present[4]) as Kristin Beth Baxter, the oldest daughter, a teenage mother trying to raise her son on her own.
  • Molly Ephraim (seasons 1–6) and Molly McCook (season 7)[5] as Amanda Elaine "Mandy" Baxter-Anderson, the middle daughter, with no clue on how the real world works.
  • Kaitlyn Dever (regular, seasons 1–6; recurring, season 7) as Eve Baxter, the youngest daughter, and school athlete with military aspirations, and allegedly Mike's favorite child.[6]
  • Christoph Sanders as Kyle Anderson, a young employee at Outdoor Man and later Mandy's husband.
  • Héctor Elizondo as Edward "Ed" Alzate, Mike's longtime business partner, of Basque heritage.[7]
  • Flynn Morrison (regular, seasons 2–6), Jet Jurgensmeyer (season 7)[5] and Evan and Luke Kruntchev (recurring, season 1) as Boyd Baxter, son of Kristin and Ryan and grandson of Mike and Vanessa.
  • Jordan Masterson (regular, seasons 4–present; recurring, seasons 2–3) and Nick Jonas (guest star, season 1) as Ryan Vogelson, Boyd's deadbeat Canadian father and later Kristin's husband.
  • Jonathan Adams as Chuck Larabee (regular, seasons 4–present; recurring, seasons 2–3): Mike and Vanessa's neighbor, a retired U.S. Marine who later becomes the head of security at Outdoor Man.
  • Krista Marie Yu as Jen (season 7–present), Vanessa's foreign-exchange student from Hong Kong who moves in with the Baxters in season 7.[8]

Recurring

  • Robert Forster as Bud Baxter (seasons 1, 3–4, 7), Mike's widower father.
  • Christina Moore as April (seasons 1 & 3), Vanessa's air-headed and immature younger sister.
  • Danielle Bisutti as Michelle (season 1), Vanessa's friend and next-door neighbor.
  • Erika Alexander (seasons 2–6) and Tisha Campbell (season 7–) as Carol Larabee, Chuck's wife and Mike and Vanessa's neighbor.
  • Carla Jimenez as Blanca Alvarez (seasons 2–4), the Baxters' Guatemalan-born housekeeper who also helps Mandy with her fashion business.
  • Sarah Gilman as Cammy Harris (seasons 2–6), Eve's soccer teammate and extremely chatty best friend.
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas as John Baker (seasons 2–3), Kristin's boss at a fancy restaurant where she works.
  • Tye Sheridan as Justin (seasons 3–4), Eve's fellow Jr. ROTC member, football teammate and brief boyfriend.
  • Zachary Gordon as Andrew (season 3), Eve's nerdy classmate.
  • Joely Fisher as Wendi Gracin (seasons 3–5), Ed's obnoxious younger girlfriend, whom he meets near the end of season three.
  • Bill Engvall as Reverend Paul (seasons 5–7), the new pastor of the Baxter family's church.
  • Jay Leno as Joe Leonard (seasons 5–7), a semi-retired auto technician who later works in the repair shop at Outdoor Man.
  • Travis Tope as Rob (season 6), Eve's boyfriend who is studying criminal justice at UC Boulder.

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
124October 11, 2011May 8, 2012ABC
218November 2, 2012March 22, 2013
322September 20, 2013April 25, 2014
422October 3, 2014April 17, 2015
522September 25, 2015April 22, 2016
622September 23, 2016March 31, 2017
722September 28, 2018May 10, 2019Fox

Production

Development and casting

Last Man Standing first appeared on ABC's development slate in late 2010 when writer Jack Burditt received a put pilot commitment from the network under the original title Man Up.[9] In January 2011, ABC green-lighted production of a pilot episode under the title Last Days of Man.[10][11] On February 18, Tim Allen, who had been attached to the potential series from the beginning, officially joined the project in the lead role.[12][13][14] At the end of March, Nancy Travis joined the cast in the leading female role as Allen's "smart and loving wife who doesn't miss much".[15][16][17] Soon thereafter, Héctor Elizondo came on board in a supporting role as the boss to Allen's character.[18]

Filming

On May 13, 2011, ABC picked up the pilot for the 2011–2012 television season under the new title Last Man Standing.[19] On May 17, 2011, ABC announced that the series would air on Tuesday nights at 8 Eastern/7 Central.[20] It debuted on October 11, 2011, with the first two episodes airing in a one-hour premiere.[21]

On November 3, 2011, the series was picked up for a full season of twenty-two episodes.[22] On January 12, 2012, the order was increased to twenty-four episodes.[23]

On May 11, 2012, ABC renewed the series for a second season set to air in the 2012–2013 season in November.[24][25]

On June 11, 2012, Tim Doyle was hired as the new showrunner of the series. Doyle was the third showrunner that the series had had since it entered production. Doyle replaced Kevin Abbott, who joined the staff as the showrunner mid-way in the first season. Abbott replaced series creator Jack Burditt, who was the showrunner for the first thirteen episodes. Unlike Burditt, who is no longer credited as an executive producer, Abbott continued to serve as an executive producer while showrunning the fellow ABC sitcom Malibu Country starring Reba McEntire. Both Last Man Standing and Malibu Country aired as a part of ABC's Friday night lineup for the 2012–2013 primetime television season.[26] On November 8, 2012, Abbott re-joined the Last Man Standing crew full-time, after a stint in rehab, and gave Nastaran Dibai full showrunning duties of Malibu Country.[27]

On June 11, 2012, it was announced that Alexandra Krosney (Kristin) was let go from the show for creative reasons.[28] Krosney was replaced by Amanda Fuller in season 2.[29] On June 19, 2012, it was also announced that twins Luke and Evan Kruntchev, who played the role of Boyd in season 1, would not be returning; they were replaced by Flynn Morrison in season 2.[30] The character of Boyd was also age-advanced from two years old to five years old.[31] Jordan Masterson plays Ryan, Boyd's father, in a recurring role beginning in season 2.[32] The role was previously played by Nick Jonas, who guest-starred in one episode in season 1.[33]

The second season initially received a 13-episode order. ABC announced on November 12, 2012, that an additional three scripts had been ordered.[34] On November 27, five more episodes were ordered to bring the second-season episode total to 18.[35]

On May 10, 2013, the series was renewed for a third season,[36] which premiered on September 20, 2013, and ended on April 25, 2014, after 22 episodes.[37]

On May 10, 2014, ABC renewed Last Man Standing for a fourth season, which premiered on October 3, 2014.[38] Allen and Elizondo guest-starred as their Last Man Standing characters in a crossover episode with the fellow ABC Friday sitcom Cristela.[39]

On May 10, 2015, ABC announced the show had been renewed for a fifth season. Last Man Standing had become a solid performer for the Friday night lineup at ABC, which with the help of Shark Tank and 20/20 has become the top network among adults 18–49 for the night. Leading off Friday night for ABC, the sitcom averaged a 1.8 rating in adults 18–49 and 8.2 million viewers overall, according to Nielsen's Live+7 estimates.[40][41]

On May 13, 2016, ABC renewed the series for a sixth season, which premiered on September 23, 2016.[42]

Cancellation

On May 10, 2017, ABC canceled Last Man Standing after six seasons, despite the series being the second-most-watched ABC sitcom during the 2016–17 season (based on Live+7 figures), with ratings remaining mostly steady during its sixth season.[43] A representative for 20th Century Fox Television said cancellation decisions are made by ABC. "This was a scheduling decision," wrote Jori Arancio, senior vice president of ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios. ABC and its production partner for the show, 20th Century Fox Television, typically negotiate licensing fees prior to each season; however, the network decided to cancel the show without doing so. Also, the contract between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC for the show, in which 20th Century Fox Television covered the cost of production, had expired after six seasons. Had the series been renewed for a seventh season, ABC would have been required to pick up Last Man Standing's production costs, which the network was unwilling to do.[44]

The cancellation was met with outrage from the show's fans, many of whom took to social media to voice their displeasure and petition for another network to pick up the show.[45] It also happened some months after lead actor Tim Allen (who is also a real-life Republican) said in an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, that being a Republican in Hollywood is "like 1930s Germany. You gotta be real careful around here, you know. You'll get beat up if you don't believe what everybody believes". His comment was widely criticized, especially his comparing the treatment of Republicans in Hollywood with Nazi Germany.[46]

A viewer petition on the website Change.org calling for ABC to reinstate Last Man Standing surpassed 380,000 signatures as of May 23, 2017.[47] In a conference call with reporters earlier in May, ABC president Channing Dungey stated, "Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me, because it was a steady performer. Once we made the decision not to continue with comedy on Friday, it was just kind of that's where we landed." Dungey cited studio ownership, future creative direction, ratings and viewer engagement as all factors in her decision.[48] A year later, the petition's signatures had grown to 438,000.[49]

On May 16, 2017 Tim Allen expressed his displeasure with the cancellation, writing: "Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years."[50]

On May 20, 2017, Howard Kurtzman, president of 20th Century Fox Television, reportedly showed some interest in his studio continuing to produce the show. "We're starting to explore that," Kurtzman said. "...Jonnie and I are hopeful that we can find another home for it."[51] Variety also confirmed in an exclusive report that 20th Century Fox Television would shop the series to other networks and streaming services in hopes it would be picked up for a seventh season;[52] another home was not quickly found, however.

In August 2017, Allen expressed his appreciation for support by the show's fans to bring it back, and said the talent behind the show had much more to add.[53]

Revival on Fox

On May 3, 2018, Allen wrote that a return "just might be a reality" and prompted the show's supporters to "keep it up".[54] The same day, TVLine reported that Fox was "poised to" resurrect Last Man Standing for the 2018–19 TV season, adding that Tim Allen is "officially on board".[55] Deadline Hollywood reported that Fox was in talks for another season, but it was "by no means a sure thing", suggesting it would depend on whether the actors could be re-signed "at reasonable salaries".[56] On May 11, 2018, Fox TV's CEOs and chairmen announced that Fox had officially picked up Last Man Standing for a seventh season.[57][58][49][59] Dana Walden, chairman of Fox Television Group, later hinted that the return of Last Man Standing was in part a response to the huge success of the Roseanne revival on ABC earlier in 2018: "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."[60]

On July 2, Fox announced that, in addition to Allen, series regulars Nancy Travis, Amanda Fuller, Hector Elizondo, Christoph Sanders, Jordan Masterson and Jonathan Adams had all signed on to appear in the season 7 reboot. Molly Ephraim and Flynn Morrison both opted not to return for the new season,[61] with Fox announcing their roles ("Mandy" and "Boyd", respectively) would be recast ahead of season 7.[62] On August 6, 2018, it was announced that Molly McCook and Jet Jurgensmeyer would be taking over the roles of Mandy and Boyd, respectively. The article also stated that Kaitlyn Dever, who recently signed on to play a lead role in the 2019 Netflix miniseries Unbelievable, will return as "Eve" in a recurring role only.[5]

For the seventh season, the show airs in the same Friday night time slot as it did for the last five of its six seasons on ABC; the show was renewed for an eighth season, and will be forced to move to a new time slot, as Fox has signed an agreement to air WWE SmackDown on Friday nights beginning in fall 2019.[63][64] When the Fox schedule was released in May 2019, Last Man Standing was placed in a Thursday night time slot and will only air in weeks when Fox is not airing NFL or XFL games.[65]

Reception

Critical response

Last Man Standing Cast - Men
(L to R) Last Man Standing stars Héctor Elizondo, Tim Allen and Christoph Sanders

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, season one holds an approval rating of 14% based on 37 reviews,[66] while the average rating is 4.14/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Last Man Standing is a thoroughly middling sitcom relying on jokes that feel alternately dated or hostile."[67] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 33 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[68]

The Hollywood Reporter called the series "a predictable sitcom with a stupid premise and bad acting".[69] Los Angeles Times: "The jokes and plots have been efficiently constructed, but most have no traction; they slide right off you, and the characters themselves seem disconnected from one another."[70] Entertainment Weekly offered a slightly more favorable review of the show: "When I look at the now-rounded softness of Tim Allen, and note once again how his sandpaper voice contrasts winningly with his hopeful eyes, it's impossible to plunge a shiv into this series."[71]

Season two of the series holds an approval rating of 40% on Rotten Tomatoes.[72] On Rotten Tomatoes, season seven holds an approval rating of 58% based on 12 reviews, and an average rating of 5.34/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Last Man Standing isn't the most realistic sitcom on the dial, but its idealistic representation of opposites living in harmony offers sorely needed hope during divided times."[73] On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 58 out of 100, based on 6 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[74]

Entertainment Weekly commented: "I think it's time the folks involved with Last take a closer look at All in the Family, in which the prejudice was built around real jokes."[75] The A.V. Club: "The problem with Last Man Standing's attempts to go political is exemplified by the first scene of the season première, which remains one of the most uncomfortable scenes of television I've ever watched ... doing its best to push buttons in the audience that don't need to be pushed, as if it thinks what made [Norman] Lear's sitcoms a success was the yelling or the mentions of social issues that people sometimes argued about."[76] Philly.com wrote about season three: "The unlikely comeback vehicle for Tim Allen, Last Man Standing on ABC, is a thoroughly traditional, absolutely charming sitcom. [...] Last Man is both economical and efficient, getting excellent comic mileage out of the most marginal bit players."[77]

The series is particularly popular among conservatives, many of whom view the show as a counterpoint to Modern Family, another 20th Century Fox sitcom that airs on ABC and features more liberal ideologies.[44] A study conducted during the 2016 U.S. presidential election found that it was the tenth most popular show on television with Republicans.[78]

Ratings

ABC's series premiere of Last Man Standing drew a 3.5 adults 18–49 rating. That was 9% better than the 3.2 adults 18–49 rating for the series premiere of No Ordinary Family in the same time-slot the previous year (which was two weeks earlier in the season). Season 2 of Last Man Standing premiered with a 2.0, down about 38% from its first-season premiere, but up about 18% from the previous season's finale.[79]

Season Timeslot (ET) Network No. of
episodes
Premiered Ended TV season Rank Viewers
(million)
Live + DVR
viewers
Date Premiere viewers
(million)
Premiere 18–49
rating/share
Date Finale viewers
(million)
Finale 18–49
rating/share
1 Tuesday 8:00 pm ABC 24 October 11, 2011 12.93[80] 3.4/10[80] May 8, 2012 6.62[81] 1.7/5[81] 2011–12 50 9.12[82] 9.76[83]
2 Friday 8:00 pm 18 November 2, 2012 8.07[84] 2.0/7[84] March 22, 2013 7.85[85] 1.6/6[85] 2012–13 53[86] 7.93[87] 8.34[88]
3 22 September 20, 2013 6.67[89] 1.5/6[89] April 25, 2014 6.10[90] 1.4/6[90] 2013–14 58 7.17[91] 7.92[92]
4 22 October 3, 2014 6.91[93] 1.3/5[93] April 17, 2015 6.16[94] 1.1/5[94] 2014–15 60[95] 8.18[95] 8.52[96]
5 22 September 25, 2015 6.26[97] 1.1/5[97] April 22, 2016 5.94[98] 1.0/4[98] 2015–16 56[99] 7.96[99] TBA
6 22 September 23, 2016 5.95[100] 1.1/5[100] March 31, 2017 6.06[101] 1.1/5[101] 2016–17 41[102] 8.06[102] TBA
7 Fox 22 September 28, 2018 8.13[103] 1.8/10[103] May 10, 2019 4.72[104] 0.9/5[104] 2018–19 TBA TBA TBA

Awards and nominations

Last Man Standing was nominated for a 2012 People's Choice Award for "Favorite New TV Comedy", but lost to CBS's 2 Broke Girls.

Year Association Category Nominee / episode Outcome
2011 ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Television Series Carl Thiel (composer) Won
2012 People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Comedy Last Man Standing Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite TV Actor Tim Allen Nominated
TV Guide Magazine's Fan Favorites Awards Favorite Comeback[105] Won
Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) – Supporting Young Actress Kaitlyn Dever Nominated
2013 Environmental Media Awards Television Episodic Comedy[106] "Mother Fracker" Won
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Television Series[107] Carl Thiel (composer) Won
2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Outstanding Cinematography For A Multi-Camera Series Donald A. Morgan – "Eve's Boyfriend" Nominated
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards Top Television Series[108] Carl Thiel (composer) Won
2015 ASCAP Screen Music Awards Top Television Series[109] Carl Thiel (composer) Won
2016 68th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Multi-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series Nominated
2017 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards Nominated

Home media

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Last Man Standing: The Complete First Season 24 May 13, 2014
Last Man Standing: The Complete Second Season 18
Last Man Standing: The Complete Third Season 22 October 28, 2014
Last Man Standing: The Complete Fourth Season 22 October 5, 2015
Last Man Standing: The Complete Fifth Season 22 June 26, 2018
Last Man Standing: The Complete Sixth Season 22

Syndication

On September 3, 2015, it was announced that ABC Family (now Freeform) had obtained syndication rights to the series, which began airing episodes on September 28, 2015.[110] As of 2018, Freeform no longer airs the series. On May 15, 2015, it was announced that Hallmark Channel had obtained the rights to the sitcom, and they aired the series from January 2016 until December 31, 2017.[111] On September 4, 2015, the series joined the CMT Network with a mini-marathon of episodes. The series also joined WGN America on April 30, 2018. Five seasons were available for streaming on Netflix. Currently, all seven seasons are available for streaming on Hulu.

Broadcast

Last Man Standing aired on ABC in the U.S.;[112] on Fox8, Network Ten and Eleven (previously aired on One) in Australia;[113] City in Canada; and TV3 in New Zealand.[114]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it premiered on October 9, 2012 on Sky One,[115] which aired the first three seasons before dropping it due to low ratings; the show was bought by E4, where it premiered on March 13, 2017;[116] Channel 4 then reran the program on Sunday mornings from July until September 2017; in 2018, 5STAR acquired the show for reruns.

In Israel, it airs on yes Comedy.

In the Netherlands, it is on RTL 7.[117]

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