“Last Man Standing” is planting its feet once again on Friday nights.
The Tim Allen comedy will return to its longtime perch at the end of the week in its return to television, this time on Fox — one of only three new scripted-series entries in the fall schedule that the broadcast network unveiled Monday. The multicam comedy, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, was canceled by ABC at the end of the 2016-17 season.
“Last year when ‘Last Man Standing’ was canceled, we really looked for an oppotunity to move it to our schedule and we just didn’t have the right show to pair it with, we didn’t have the right opportunity for it,” Gary Newman, CEO of Fox Television Group, told reporters on a conference call Monday. He added, “Kind of emboldened by what we saw with ‘Roseanne,’ we saw an opportunity to pair those to shows together on Friday night,” where “Lat Man Standing” will lead into new multicam “The Cool Kids.”
“Thursday Night Football” takes over the most competitive night of the week after Fox earlier this year closed a $660 million-per-year deal to carry five seasons of the NFL franchise, which last season saw its schedule split between CBS and NBC. On a conference call Monday with reporters, Fox Sports president and CEO Eric Shanks announced that Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will serve as announcers for “Thursday Night Football,” adding to their duties as the Fox’s lead Sunday NFL analysts.
Making way for “Thursday Night Football,” sophomore dramas “The Resident” and “9-1-1” will take over Mondays at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively. “9-1-1,” which takes over the 9 p.m. Monday timeslot, relocates from Wednesdays, where it premiered at midseason to strong ratings. It is one of the last Fox projects developed by executive producer Ryan Murphy, who earlier this year bolted studio 20th Century Fox for an overall deal at Netflix valued at more than $100 million. Medical drama “The Resident” stays on the night where it launched.
Moving from Mondays to Tuesdays is Fox’s X-Men-inspired drama “The Gifted,” also entering its second season. Warner Bros. police drama “Lethal Weapon” will occupy the 9 p.m. Tuesday slot, having received a last-minute renewal order as producers scrambled to replace lead Clayne Crawford with Sean William Scott. “Our partners at Warner Bros. came to us about three weeks ago to tell us that they were not able to deliver ‘Lethal Weapon’ to us as we’ve known it before, that there were some real challenges in the cast,” said Newman’s fellow Fox Television Group CEO Dana Walden. She added that the decision to renew was finalized after Scott had been secured as a replacement for Crawford.
On Wednedays, Fox will keep in place last year’s combo of Lee Daniels-produced music dramas “Empire” and “Star.”
“Last Man Standing” will kick off a Friday-night lineup that includes “The Cool Kids” and unscripted mainstay “Hell’s Kitchen.” Sunday nights coming out of NFL football will begin with “The Simpsons” followed by “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy,” and freshman live-action comedy “Rel.”
Freshman dramas “The Passage” and “Proven Innocent” will be held for midseason, as will “Cosmos: Possible Worlds,” a followup to the documentary-series hit “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.” Fox’s live version of the musical “Rent” is also slated for midseason.
Also being held until midseason is Seth MacFarlane’s sci-fi drama “The Orville,” which will premiere Dec. 30 with a Sunday-night debut, then move to Thursday nights following the end of “Thursday Night Football.” The final season of Warner Bros. superhero drama “Gotham” will also premiere at midseason.
Newman and Walden fielded several questions about the decision to cancel long-running Universal Television single-camera comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” “Ultimately we felt like we didn’t have the exact right place to schedule it this year,” Walden said. She said the cancellation to drop it was motivated in part by the decision to move animated comedy “Bob’s Burgers” up to 8:30 p.m. Sundays.
“Ultimately we decided that we didn’t have room for it going into the fall,” Walden said, noting that the new NFL package takes up two hours a week on the fall schedule. Last week, Universal TV sibling NBC scooped up “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” giving it a season-six order. “We’re really happy though that it’s found a new home. We kind of assumed it would. We knew there were conversations with other platforms, and I’m really happy for that whole team.”
Walden added that the network hasn’t made a decision yet on the fates of freshman comedies “Ghosted” and “L.A. to Vegas.” The former still has season-one episodes left to air, currently scheduled for July.
Fox execs noted that there were no significant updates on new seasons of “Prison Break” and “24,” both of which are in early development. They added that there are no plans at this time for additional episodes of “The X-Files.”
|FOX FALL 2018-19 SCHEDULE|
|*New programs in UPPER CASE; all times ET|
|FOX||The Gifted||Lethal Weapon|
|5PM PT/8PM ET – 11PM+|
|FOX||NFL Football Live|
|FOX||Last Man Standing||THE COOL KIDS||Hells Kitchen|
|FOX||Fox Sports Saturday: Fox College Football|
|FOX||NFL on Fox||The OT||The Simpsons||Bob’s Burgers||Family Guy||REL|
POPULAR ON VARIETY: