Politics and current events are hot topics in TV these days, and not just on the news. A big question many had about Last Man Standing after it made the move from ABC to Fox was whether the sitcom about a politically conservative man would tackle politics. After all, Tim Allen's character did dress up as Donald Trump for a Halloween episode before the show got the axe at ABC. Last Man Standing showrunner Kevin Abbott recently weighed in on the issue of whether the show would stay out of politics in its second life on primetime, saying this:
Yeah. We want to appeal to everybody and that's a polarizing thing. We want to talk about things but we don't want to be a trigger that immediately thrills or turns off people. The news cycle changes so rapidly I don't think we're going to deal with anything immediately topical because by the time we air it will no longer be pertinent. We'll deal with the larger issues. We want to take a more universal tone and unite rather than divide in these times. We rather show people on either side of the political spectrum arguing with each other but remaining family.
Last Man Standing will not go the Saturday Night Live route of mentioning politics and political figures on a regular basis, although Last Man Standing's take on current events would undoubtedly be quite different from SNL's. According to Kevin Abbott's comments to EW, the show wants to appeal to all viewers rather than just conservative viewers. Last Man Standing isn't about Donald Trump or any other political figures. Besides, as Abbott says, the news cycles between big stories very quickly nowadays. Interestingly, the South Park creator said something similar a couple years ago about being unable to keep up with current events with the show.
Kevin Abbott did tease that an upcoming episode would deal with gun control, so that will be one of the larger issues addressed by Last Man Standing's first season on Fox. If the numbers for its premiere hold up, a lot of people could be tuning in to watch Last Man Standing work through these issues while keeping the focus on comedy and attempting to unite rather than divide. The show absolutely dominated with its first episode back, scoring a 1.8 rating in the key 18-49 age demographic and winning 8.01 million viewers. Given that Friday nights typically don't deliver terribly high ratings, Fox has a lot to be happy about with Last Man Standing so far.
Star Tim Allen has already said that his personal political leanings shouldn't matter to fans, and it seems that Last Man Standing could be a conservative but less divisive show than pre-cancellation Roseanne. Assuming the ratings stay decent, the recastings don't turn viewers off, and Tim Allen sticks around, Last Man Standing could last for a decent amount of time on Fox.
We'll have to wait and see. New episodes of Last Man Standing air on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. There are plenty of options in the fall TV lineup this year, but Friday offers fewer big series, so it should be interesting to see how many people continue to turn to Last Man Standing for Friday night entertainment.