Syndication is the ultimate goal of every sitcom. In layman's terms, syndication is when a show has enough seasons that it becomes viable for another network to the buy the show in order to air re-runs. Syndication is where the money is -- that's why you've seen that episode of Friends for the one thousandth time on TBS. The mega-popular sitcoms like Seinfeld are no-brainers, but this year one sitcom has found big success despite never making big waves in the regular ratings: ABC's Last Man Standing.
Truly living up to its title, Last Man Standing is the most popular new show to hit syndication this year. According to Deadline, the comedy has hit a series high based on the most recent week with available data. On December 5, Last Man Standing set a high mark for itself by reaching a 2.0 rating, which is up 5% from the previous week. The series has increased in all of its key demographics leading to a huge 43% household growth since it first hit syndication in September. This is TV talk for "a lot more people are suddenly watching this show, what is happening?"
This makes Last Man Standing a rarity in the TV world. While several shows experience growth in the first few months of syndication, such a fast and steep climb up is unusual. In addition, Last Man Standing may not be finished yet and there is an indication that its number will keep rising in the coming weeks. These figures have put the series as in the No.4 spot among all 19 comedies airing in syndication. This means that Last Man Standing is surpassed only by juggernauts like The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family and Two and a Half Men.
So why, all of a sudden, is Last Man Standing the highest rated new syndicated series when before it simply existed? It can mostly be chalked up to superior strategy. Shows usually go up for syndication at a certain time; Last Man Standing decided to hold back and avoided going up against hotter shows like 2 Broke Girls and New Girl in seasons past. This year, the Friday night comedy was the only off-network comedy on the marketplace to go up for syndication, making it the hot item. Additionally, Last Man Standing's Friday night timeslot and under-the-radar existence could mean that not a lot of people have seen the show and are experiencing the re-runs for the first time.
There's also the Tim Allen star power to consider. The voice of Buzz Lightyear already had sitcom success with Home Improvement, making him a proven sitcom star. Star power is a major draw for any sitcom's syndication and Last Man Standing's new success could bode well for similar shows like CBS' Kevin Can Wait, which also stars a sitcom staple in Kevin James.
So, while you may have never seen an episode, you might be on the verge of seeing Last Man Standing a lot on TV. If you don't like that option, then check out our midseason TV premiere schedule to help you find something to watch in 2017.