Tim Allen’s hit show Last Man Standing is still searching for a new home .
ABC canceled the family show in May after six seasons even though it was the struggling network’s second-watched comedy and had achieved consistently high ratings.
Many therefore suspect the decision was made partly because Allen, the star of Last Man Standing, is a high-profile conservative and plays a right-of-center character on the show. In the weeks prior to the cancellation, Allen had attended Donald Trump’s inauguration and described the feeling of being on the political right: “You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody else believes. This is like ’30s Germany.”
Now Country Music Television (CMT), owned by Viacom, is in negotiations to pick up Last Man Standing. CMT already syndicates re-runs of the show.
Last year CMT reached an agreement to air another canceled ABC series, drama Nashville, with the help of Hulu, which shared the cost in exchange for next-day streaming rights.
But a deal with CMT is far from certain owing to the high costs and payroll needs for the cast and the crew of a multi-camera comedy series that has completed six seasons (Allen reportedly earns $4.2 million a year from Last Man Standing).
A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Heat Street that TV Land—also owned by Viacom—turned down informal consultations to revive the show.
The source said: “Tim Allen has historically a great relationship with TV Land—he hosted their awards show several years back.
“But TV Land has moved away from the multi-camera family shows that it used to specialize in airing [such as Retired at 35, Happily Divorced and The Exes] and it is now focusing on skewing to a younger demographic. So they didn’t pursue the opportunity.”
Keith Cox, President of Development and Production at TV Land, is understood to regard the show as an unsuitable fit with its current roster of shows which include Younger, Nobodies and Teachers.
20th Century Fox Television, which produces Last Man Standing, had hoped to pick up the show to air, but ultimately couldn’t find room for it in its schedule.
It remains to be seen whether a deal can be done with CMT. Plenty of people will be interested in the outcome—a petition to save the show has attracted over 400,000 signatures.
Resurfacing on CMT will be the best news for country music since Billy Ray Cyrus released Achy Breaky Heart a quarter of a century ago.