With the network upfronts coming next week, ABC spent some of the last few days championing parts of its schedule while letting other parts fade into the wind. One of the only shows that was left untouched was the Tim Allen-y Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, but fans should fear not, for even though it took a few days, Last Man Standing will indeed stay upright for Season 5. I’d try to grunt, but I have a sore throat.
ABC officially put in the new season renewal on Sunday, according to THR, less than a week after seeing a change in showrunner. Season 5 will have executive producer Matt Berry – not the British comedian, sadly – stepping in to do the showrunning. A part of the Last Man Standing crew since last year, Berry’s been a writer and producer on past series such as Desperate Housewives, Ellen, and Reba, among others. He’s the latest in a line of showrunners, replacing Rules of Engagement writer/producer Tim Doyle, who replaced former Roseanne producer/writer Kevin Abbott, who replaced show creator Jack Burditt. Anyone seeking the job for a potential Season 6 might as well have started throwing their hat in the ring yesterday.
Last Man Standing has been as dependable a ratings-grabber as anything else on ABC’s schedule, and it’s closing in on its syndication benchmark 100th episode. While it never regained the 13 million-strong audience of its critically maligned series premiere in 2011, Last Man Standing has consistently seen from 6-8 million viewers tune into its weekly episodes. There’s just something about seeing Tim Allen’s testosterone-infused conservatism in action that gets people excited.
In the series, Allen plays the senior exec of an outdoor sporting goods store chain, with a home life shared by a wife, played by fellow sitcom vet Nancy Travis, and three daughters, the youngest of which he reflects his male influence on. The show has seen a supporting cast of familiar faces, including Héctor Elizondo, Robert Forster, Joely Fisher, and Tye Sheridan, as well as some of Allen’s former Home Improvement co-stars. Patricia Richardson popped in for a Season 4 episode, Richard Karn reteamed with Allen for a pair of Season 2 episodes, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas played Kristin’s boss in a few episodes before showing up in Season 4 as Home Improvement’s Randy Taylor. (He also directed two episodes.)
Last Man Standing will join a large crop of ABC’s returning series for the 2015-2016 season, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Agent Carter, Scandal, Black-ish and more. As well, ABC scooped up a few new series, including a new Muppets show and the Ken Jeong hospital comedy Dr. Ken.
To find out the future of all the other network series, check out our renewal/cancelation rundown list here.