(Note: All ratings are adults 18-49, unless noted.)
In 2017, ABC canceled Last Man Standing mainly due to financial issues as Twentieth Television produced the show for the Disney-owned network. In a vertical integration play, Fox (whose shares the same corporate parent with Twentieth) acquired the Tim Allen vehicle a year after it exited.
And it paid off dividends.
Last Man Standing premiered on its new Friday night home on Fox and stunned observers with a 1.8 rating, easily winning its time slot. But that’s not all – in the 18-49 demo, Standing outdrew all sitcoms – veteran and freshmen. In fact, Standing only was outdrawn by two airings of The Big Bang Theory – and Standing came with four-tenths of a ratings point of tying Thursday’s Big Bang episode.
And in a satisfying victory for Standing’s conservative fan base, the season premiere out-rated the return of CBS’ Murphy Brown by 63 percent.
Since its ABC cancellation, Standing has been a reliable performer in off-network syndication, finishing only behind Big Bang as the top-rated sitcom. In Chicago, Tribune’s WGN-TV airs repeats every weeknight at 8 (when not pre-empted by sports) following black-ish in the most odd-pairing I’ve ever seen on a local schedule.
Leading out of Standing was The Cool Kids with Vicki Lawrence as the program debuted with a 1.5. The series isn’t as critically panned as you think (49 Metacriric rating), but is a nice companion to Standing. Keep in mind however, Fox is bringing WWE Smackdown back to broadcast television on Friday nights beginning next fall.
Hell’s Kitchen’s season premiere finished up the night with a 0.9.
Over to CBS, the network season premiered its regualr Friday night lineup consisting of McGyver (0.7), Hawaii Five-O (0.9) and Blue Bloods (0.9), with respectable 18-49 numbers – not really bad for the night.
ABC aired two-hour special Truth and Lies: Jonestown, Paradise Lost and notched a 0.6.
NBC encored premieres of Manifest and New Amsterdam, each with a 0.5. Of note the NBC-owned station in San Francisco aired a Giants game in primetime, a team removed from the pennant race eons ago. Dateline finished up the evening with a 0.7, tying ABC’s 20/20.
On a unrelated note regarding Friday night television viewing, I generally give a shout-out here to Chicago Tonight: The Week In Review here in my yearly (yes, yearly) Friday night ratings roundup for the first week of the season. However, the show has lost some spunk since host and moderator Joel Weisman retired, but is still valuable. Meanwhile, WFLD’s new Flannery Fired Up hosted and moderated by political editor Mike Flannery 10 p.m. on Friday nights, is the type of programs a lot of stations should be doing – but some of the guests on the panels (WIND’s Dan Proft and WVON’s Maze Jackson were on Friday night) leaves very little to be desired.
And that’s my hot take.