Tim Allen and Fox are waking up to some very good news this morning.
ABC not so much.
Last Man Standing returned Friday night to deliver 8 million viewers and a downright shocking 1.8 rating among adults 18-49.
That’s enough to easily rank as the top-rated show on Friday night — including beating rival ABC, which canceled Last Man Standing after six seasons last year despite the show’s pretty decent viewership. In fact, this was Fox’s most-watched comedy on any night in nearly seven years.
Most surprisingly, Last Man Standing‘s season 7 premiere was much higher than the show’s season 6 premiere on ABC last fall (where it had 5.9 million viewers and a 1.1 rating). Remember, Last Man Standing‘s “8 million viewers” number that was bandied about so much after the show was canceled on ABC included seven days of DVR playback. This is getting 8 million right out of the gate.
The comedy was not expected to grow because, frankly, older shows rarely improve year over year, changing networks usually does not boost an audience and Fox has long struggled to get viewers to their Friday night lineup. But LMS has had the benefit of more press attention than usual thanks to the network shakeup, so perhaps that helped matters.
So Fox won the night averaging a 1.3 in the demo with LMS, new show The Cool Kids (1.5 in the demo) and Hell’s Kitchen (0.9) vs. ABC averaging a 0.6 with Truth & Lies and 20/20. Outside of Fox, the highest rated show last night only had a 0.9, which again makes LMS’s 1.8 in the demo such a shock — LMS doesn’t exactly have a reputation for drawing younger viewers.
The ratings follow up on another political skewing sitcom returning to TV — albeit after a much longer hiatus — CBS’ Murphy Brown, which disappointed Thursday night by ranking as the network’s lowest-rated comedy and falling from its lead-in with only a 1.1 rating.