Why 'Last Man Standing' 2.0 Could Yield 'Roseanne' Ratings

Tim Allen may have the last laugh on ABC.

The network canceled his popular, long-running sitcom “Last Man Standing” roughly a year ago. Now, Allen shares the news via Twitter that the show may be coming back, “Roseanne” style. Or “Will & Grace” and “Mad About You” style.


Only with “LMS” it’s a bit more … complicated.

Allen’s series drew hearty ratings at the time of its cancellation. The show also represented a rare look at the country from a right-of-center viewpoint. Allen’s Mike Baxter was a loud and proud conservative, making him a virtual unicorn on the TV landscape.

Bringing Baxter to Fox, the show’s new potential home, offers a dollop of diversity in an otherwise liberal TV landscape. Here’s why the new “LMS” could generate “Roseanne” sized rating should its renewal come to pass.

1. Trump TV at Last

Every other show these days has embraced the “Resistance.” Virtually all of late-night TV. Cable offerings, from “The Daily Show” to “Real Time with Bill Maher.” The same, sadly, goes for conventional TV shows like “Supergirl,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and more. “Roseanne” shocked Hollywood by showcasing a character who didn’t automatically reject President Trump’s unique appeal. The ratings proved massive for the long-dormant show’s revival—8 million viewers in that first week. That’s big news for any new “LMS’ episodes.


2. It’s ‘Roseanne’ on Steroids

The ratings for the new “Roseanne” episodes have been falling, dramatically, since that massive debut. Could it be tied to the fact that the show isn’t as pro-Trump as the initial stories? The sitcom is now firmly back to its roots, commenting less on current events and more on its blue-collar characters. That leaves a big opening for “LMS.” If the show consistently connects to the latest headlines, or themes appealing to Trump’s base, it might draw those eager for a fresh perspective.

3. America Hearts Allen


Plenty of talented actors have scored with hit sitcoms. The list is endless. Now, how many of those actors came back and did it again? The list just shrank dramatically. Think Katey Sagal, who entered our homes courtesy of “Married … with Children” and struck gold again with both “8 Simple Rules” and “Sons of Anarchy” (not to mention her vocal work on “Futurama”). Allen became a superstar thanks to ABC’s “Home Improvement.” The fact that he followed that with “LMS” speaks to something critical in his comedic DNA. Audiences like him, which doesn’t even include his film hits like the “Toy Story” and “Santa Clause” franchises. That’s not easy to replicate.


4. Consistency Is the Key

MAGA fans may love Barr these days, but not too long ago she was running for president on the Green Party ticket (she failed to snare that nomination). Still, her conservative bona fides hardly run deep. Not so with Allen. He’s been right of center for a while, but rarely in an aggressive manner. He also “gets” the culture wars in a way others might not. Consider this revealing quote:

“There is nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative character,” he told Norm Macdonald last year in connection to his show’s cancellation.


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