Fox Chiefs Talk 'Last Man Standing,' 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' and 'Roseanne' Effect

Actor Tim Allen in a scene from

Its new home at Fox aligns the show's network and studio, an increasingly common trend in broadcast where a vertically integrated ownership structure has become key to a show's financial viability. As you may imagine, Fox's reasoning has a lot to do with another blue-collar, conservative-leaning comedy, Roseanne. "It reminded us we have a huge iconic star in our Fox family in Tim Allen. And we have been talking to Tim through the year".

Walden noted that a comedy like Last Man Standing has an easier "point of entry" for viewers than a serialized comedy like Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

While Dana Walden, Chairman and CEO of Fox Television Group, said Fox's initial interest in the series "had nothing to do with 'Roseanne, '" the working class family sitcom's stellar ratings did not go unnoticed when they were eyeing their own revival. Walden added, "We always felt like ABC didn't really prioritize Last Man Standing". We always wondered how it would do if it was given a better opportunity and prioritized more in terms of a network's agenda. "We were emboldened by Roseanne".

The network said Monday it has cancelled five shows, including "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" - the police comedy that was promptly picked up by rival NBC. As critically-acclaimed as Brooklyn Nine-Nine was, it averaged less than 3 million viewers a week.

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The network has ground to make up in ratings: Fox is averaging 5 million viewers in prime time this season, down 17 percent from 6 million past year.

Asked how Allen's conservative politics had played into the show's ABC cancellation, as had been much debated back when it happened, Fox co-chair Gary Newman came to that network's defense. "Tim's personal politics are not a big feature of the show and if you were to talk to Time he would say [his character] is a centrist and the show never delved deeply into politics. We really just felt it was a amusing show, the audience responded to it and there was an opportunity on our schedule particularly... to put a great comedy that would attract a broad audience". This year, the timing for "Last Man" was ideal as Fox sought broad meat-and-potatoes comedies to land on Friday to take advantage of the promotional platform offered by another newcomer to its schedule, "Thursday Night Football".

The Fox executives said they are counting on the addition of football on Thursday night, in addition to its Sunday games, to help boost its new and returning shows.

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