While Last Man Standing fans wait for word on the show's Season 9 renewal, star Tim Allen and showrunner Kevin Abbott have ideas on where to take the show next, even suggesting a storyline involving the coronavirus pandemic. The show has already been affected by the crisis, as the true Season 8 finale was never filmed because production shut down. The "new normal" in real life will be unavoidable, even for the fictional Baxter family.
Last Man Standing has to address the "new normal" in American society when the show returns, Allen told TV Guide. One possible storyline involving the coronavirus could show its impact on Bud's Buds, the marijuana shop opened by Mike Baxter's father Bud (the late Robert Foster) and now run by his son-in-law, Ryan (Jordan Masterson). Part of the show also takes place at Mike's store Outdoor Man, which could also face economic hardships due to the coronavirus.
"The world has changed. Everything we had planned has gone out the window," Abbott told TV Guide. The executive producer noted how they try to "keep it as real as we can" on the sitcom, so even Mike Baxter will not be impervious to the economic crisis. "I guarantee you Outdoor Man will be facing the repercussions of the economy," Abbott explained. "How did lockdown affect outdoor equipment use? How are they going to re-open? We will ask ourselves all those questions to see how lockdown affected all of that."
Last Man Standing is known for touching on serious subjects, despite being a sitcom. When the show returned for Season 8 in January, one episode featured Mike's daughters Kristin (Amanda Fuller) and Mandy (Molly McCook) discussing a miscarriage Kristin suffered before she got pregnant again. The penultimate episode of Season 8 also revealed Mandy is pregnant after she and husband Kyle (Christoph Sanders) discussed their struggles to conceive in Season 7. "Even though we're a sitcom, the value we can bring is illuminating issues and problems families can relate to," Abbott told TV Guide.
Fox will likely renew Last Man Standing for a ninth season, although it will probably not air until 2021. Season 8 ended with an unintentional cliffhanger, as Kristin just went into labor and was admitted into the hospital. Kristin and Ryan's daughter was likely to be born in the written finale, which was a "really special" episode, Amanda Fuller told PopCulture.com.
Fox is holding Last Man Standing, 9-1-1 and other returning shows until next year with production on hold for their upcoming seasons. Instead, the network will air L.A.'s Finest, which initially debuted on Spectrum last year, and the completed new shows Next and Filthy Rich. The Masked Singer, WWE Fight Night Smackdown and Thursday Night Football will also air this fall.