Last Man Standing Renewed For Season 9 After Finale Snafu, But Will Kaitlyn Dever Return?

tim allen last man standing bowling alley
(Image credit: fox press)

Less than three weeks after leaving viewers on a bit of a cliffhanger with its adjusted-for-lockdown Season 8 finale, Last Man Standing got the best news possible from Fox. The Tim Allen-starring sitcom has been renewed for Season 9, which will give showrunner Kevin Abbott and his creative team the chance to deliver a proper follow-up on the labor-intensive storyline. What's more, Last Man Standing's producers can now rededicate themselves to the mission of bringing actress Kaitlyn Dever back full-time.

Even though it's the most-watched comedy in Fox's current schedule, Last Man Standing wasn't wholly guaranteed to be making it to Season 9. The show's ratings, while solid for a Friday-night comedy, aren't hitting the high marks that Last Man Standing achieved during its earliest weeks back on the air following its ABC cancellation. The sitcom does do well in delayed viewing, however, as bolstered by fans who can't get enough of Tim Allen and Nancy Travis' loving (and sometimes politically motivated) couple.

Now that we know Last Man Standing is absolutely coming back for a new season, the biggest question almost definitely revolves around how often viewers will get to see Kaitlyn Dever's Eve Baxter. From Season 7 onward, Dever took on a smaller recurring role within Last Man Standing, with her career booming from other projects such as Netflix's Unbelievable. A lot of people can't wait to see what new projects she'll join next – and I'm fully in the camp that wants her to join HBO's The Last of Us series – but there are tons of fans who want her to return to Last Man Standing on a far more consistent basis in Season 9 and beyond.

Thankfully, showrunner Kevin Abbott expressed previously that the goal is definitely to get Kaitlyn Dever back for the second half of the original season finale plan. After that, it's slim pickings, with Eve's presence in the Baxter household fully tied to how busy Dever's career is whenever production is underway for Season 9. It's always been easier to secure the actress near the beginning and end of the overall production, which is why she's often around for premieres and finales. But here's hoping there's a way to get Dever involved enough that she gets her own mini-arc.

After the finale had aired, showrunner Kevin Abbott expressed his dismay over having to end Season 8 in the midst of Kristin's labor with the off-chance that Fox wouldn't step in with a renewal order for Season 9. Abbott is now hopefully breathing easier, knowing that he'll be able to continue expanding the Baxter family tree with a new batch of episodes.

Along with Last Man Standing, Fox also put in an order for the medical drama The Resident, which has officially been renewed for Season 4 after the strangely topical way the show ended Season 3.

While Season 8 is over on Fox for now, Last Man Standing fans can catch up with all eight seasons, which are currently streaming on Hulu. Stay tuned for more about where Season 9 is heading, and bookmark our Summer 2020 TV schedule to stay current on all the big premieres that are on the way.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.