Why Do So Many People Like ‘Last Man Standing’?

Last Man Standing is a long-standing television show starring Tim Allen. It airs on Fox and is a hit with audiences, bringing in nearly 6 million viewers a week. But despite its popularity, Fox only got the rights to the show after it was canceled in 2017 by ABC. Let’s take a look at why fans love the show and how their devotion to it gave the canceled sitcom new life.

What is ‘Last Man Standing About’?

Last Man Standing follows the lives of Mike Baxter and his family in Denver, Colorado. Mike runs Outdoor Man, a popular sporting goods store, and hosts a video blog promoting the store and discussing his personal musings.

Mike is a strong conservative personality. He often butts heads with other members in his family, particularly his eldest daughter Kristen and her husband Ryan, over their liberal viewpoints. The focal point of the show is the Baxter family and their day-to-day challenges, but the show often integrates political events, often poking fun at current events and bringing up controversial topics like gun control and abortion.

The show was canceled with high ratings

When it’s time to decide which shows get renewed and which get the ax, it’s usually the ones with low ratings that are the first to go. While there’s an argument for ending a show while it’s still performing strong, as Allen did with his last hit, Home Improvement, Last Man Standing still had many more years before it reached that point. That’s why everyone was surprised when ABC announced that it would be canceling Last Man Standing at the end of its sixth season. At the time of its cancellation, the show was bringing in solid numbers and had an average of 8.3 million viewers.

The official word from the head of ABC was that there were many factors that came into play in deciding to pull the plug on the show, including show ownership and scheduling. ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said, “It was a challenging (call) because it was steady performer but when we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Friday that’s where it landed.”

Fans didn’t buy this reasoning and neither did star Tim Allen. Allen hinted that he thinks political viewpoints were a key factor in the cancellation, “there is nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative character.” Fans agreed and started a petition, threatening to boycott ABC if they did not bring the hit show back.

Fox wasn’t ready for the show to end

ABC didn’t bend and canceled the show, but Fox knew that the show was popular among viewers and decided to give it a new home on Fox. It looks like Fox made a smart move. The show continues to have strong ratings at its new network, performing above average and beating out both Friday night comedies on its former home, ABC.

Fans have wondered if ABC’s reboot of Roseanne had anything to do with Fox picking up Last Man Standing. Fox Television Group Chair, Dana Walden said that Roseanne’s success certainly factored into their decision to bring back the show. She said it reminded them that they had their own comedic powerhouse who is incredibly popular with fans. They knew Allen’s draw could keep the show alive. 

Why do so many people like ‘Last Man Standing’?

Why give a show another chance after it’s given the boot? Why take the risk? The simple answer — fans love the show. Allen’s charisma and comedic storytelling have always been able to keep audiences entertained. No matter what he plays, from Tim “the tool man” Taylor on Home Improvement to Santa Clause, he always brings a humbleness and relatability to his character.

And while some think that it is politics that pushed the show off the air, they also think that it is just that the brought the show back. Fox News calls Last Man Standing “the show that Hollywood’s political correctness couldn’t kill off.” Whether you agree with the politics or not, it’s easy to see that fans from all realms of the political spectrum love the show for what it is, a funny, relatable, family comedy.