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Fox to add Tim Allen's 'Last Man Standing' to fall lineup

NEW YORK (AP) — Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing," canceled last year by ABC, is being resurrected by Fox next season because it's a "great comedy" and not as a conservative statement, Fox executives said Monday.

Some fans may be drawn to the family sitcom because of Allen's personal political views, but they "aren't really a big feature of the show," Fox Television Group executive Gary Newman said. "We just think it's a really funny show" with general appeal, he said in announcing the network's 2018-19 schedule with fellow chairman and CEO Dana Walden.

The success of the rebooted "Roseanne" on ABC emboldened Fox to revive "Last Man Standing," which is produced by its studio, but the decision was already in the works, Walden said. The network needed to find the right spot for it, she said.

Allen is a conservative who went to President Donald Trump's inauguration, has suggested that his politics may have played a role in ABC canceling the popular series after six seasons in 2016. His character, Mike Baxter, was also conservative, and Allen described him once as "Archie Bunker with a college education."

Roseanne Barr is also a Trump supporter, as is the title character of her show, but "Roseanne" also includes other political voices. Among Fox's new shows is "The Cool Kids," a comedy about rebellious friends in a retirement community, with stars including David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Vicki Lawrence.

Walden said that after a five-season run by "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," the network didn't have the right place to put it, so canceled the Emmy-nominated show. But Fox was aware others were interested in the show and is "happy" it found a home on NBC, she said.

The network and producers went to last-minute extremes to keep "Lethal Weapon" in the lineup, bringing Seann William Scott ("American Pie") onboard to co-star with Damon Wayans. Scott replaces Clayne Crawford, reportedly fired because of repeated outbursts on the set.

Fox and other broadcast networks are presenting their new schedules to advertisers in New York this week. Fox hopes for a boost next season with the addition of pro football on Thursday nights. The fourth-place network can use the help, with viewership down 17 percent this season.

MAKE 'EM LAUGH

Joining "The Cool Kids" and "Last Man Standing" is the comedy "Rel," which Fox says is inspired by the life of Lil Rel Howery ("Get Out," ''Insecure") as a divorced dad in Chicago. Sinbad is among Howery's co-stars. Fox says it hopes broader-based comedies on Friday help keep some of Thursday night's football fans tuned to the network.

MIDSEASON SHUFFLE

"Gotham," the Batman origin story starring David Mazouz as Bruce Wayne and Ben McKenzie as lawman James Gordon, will air its fifth and final season on the back side of the season. Two dramas make their debut then: "The Passage," in which a virus threatens to save or kill the human race, with Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and "Proven Innocent," with Rachelle Lefevre as a lawyer fighting for the wrongly convicted.

MEYERS TIME

Seth Meyers went there. At the NBC schedule presentation Monday, before all of his company's executives, he delivered Matt Lauer and Bill Cosby jokes.

In a set-up to make people think he was talking about "This is Us," Meyers said that NBC is "home to the No. 1 drama on television, a show that each week gives us twists and turns, heartbreaking reveals and, this season, the departure of a once-beloved character. I'm talking, of course, about 'This is the Today Show.'"

Cosby, another former NBC star felled by sexual misconduct charges, figured in a joke where Meyers talked about the successful revival of "Will & Grace." He said the new version was so successful, "I'm sure at least one exec at NBC says, 'We can't bring back 'The Cosby Show,' right?"

NINE-NINE

Did Andy Samberg use some creative license or NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt engage in some revisionist history?

Samberg, star of "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," appeared onstage at NBC's presentation to express enthusiasm about NBC picking up the show after it was canceled by Fox. The former "Saturday Night Live" actor recalled being upset earlier this decade when NBC passed on the show even though it was made by an NBC-owned studio. He joked about making nasty calls to NBC executives at the time; now, of course, he's "thrilled to be back."

Yet in a conference call a day earlier, Greenblatt said that Samberg was not attached to "Brooklyn Nine0Nine" at the time NBC initially passed on it. If he was, it might have been a different decision, Greenblatt said.

NBC didn't immediately return a message seeking clarification.

FACEBOOK

In another sign of perceived weakness at Facebook, NBC Universal's top sales executive made some pointed remarks about the social media giant before an audience at Radio City Music Hall who will decide where to spend advertising money.

Touting the power of television, Linda Yaccarino said that "no family has ever gathered around a news feed before."

Later, she said, "We're not in the 'likes' business. We're in the results business."

REVIVALS

The NBC Universal cable networks are all in with the latest trend of reviving once-successful brands. Howie Mandel announced that his game show "Deal or No Deal" would be returning, this time on CNBC's prime-time lineup. The original series aired from 2005 to 2009 on NBC. Bravo is bringing back "Project Runway," which didn't go off the air, but has been on Lifetime since 2008 after starting with Bravo. And E! Entertainment said it will be making new episodes of "True Hollywood Stories" for the first time in three years.

BYE-BYE

Besides "Brooklyn Nine-Nine, four other Fox series are gone from that network: "The Last Man on Earth," ''The Mick," ''Lucifer" and "The Exorcist."

AP Media Writer David Bauder contributed to this report.

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