Fans of Last Man Standing have likely known that the show is coming to an end for a while now. Back in October 2020, it was announced that the popular series wouldn't be getting renewed — although Last Man Standing was already canceled once before by ABC. In 2017, the network canceled the show, stating that it was too expensive to produce and that ABC didn't actually own it (it was actually produced by FOX).
Some people believed the 2017 cancellation had something to do with Tim Allen's (conservative) politics, but ABC responded, saying that this wasn't the case. "There are many factors that go into the decision-making process: ratings, critical acclaim … of course we look at ownership structure," ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said, adding, "I wouldn't say that [Tim Allen stating working in Hollywood as a Republican was like living in '30s Germany] was the deciding factor."
Plus, the show was renewed by FOX anyway. So, why exactly did Last Man Standing get canceled a second time? As we prepare to say goodbye to the Baxters, let's look back on what led up to this final episode.
Why is 'Last Man Standing' ending?
It seems as though Last Man Standing is just coming to its natural end. After nine seasons, the network feels like it's a good time to close this chapter, and it doesn't look like Tim Allen disagrees. "I've been one lucky dude to have been part of Last Man Standing. We had all considered to end the show after last season, but together with FOX, we decided to add a year so we could produce a full season to create the gentle and fun goodbye," Tim, who also produces the show, said.
FOX Entertainment president Michael Thorn stated, "It has been an honor to be home for Tim Allen and Last Man Standing. Millions of families have long enjoyed the show because, perhaps, they see themselves in the Baxters. The loyal affection they've shown proves just how much this series has meant to them. On behalf of everyone at FOX, a big, big thank you to Last Man Standing's brilliant cast, led by Tim, Nancy [Travis], and Hector [Elizondo], as well as its writers and crew, headed by showrunner Kevin Abbott. We’ll be rooting them on throughout the season as they conclude what has been an impressive run."
As far as ratings go, Season 8's did drop from .95 (its season premiere) to .68 (the Season 8 finale). According to TVSeriesFinale.com, the ratings for Last Man Standing have dipped even lower this season. The final season has averaged .42 in the 18 to 49 demographic. While this doesn't seem to be an openly deciding factor in the decision to cancel the show, it might be one for FOX's finance department.
Catch the hour-long series finale of Last Man Standing, May 20 at 9 p.m. EST on FOX.