Last Man Standing was revived on Fox this season after being canceled on ABC in 2017. Absence seems to have made the heart grow fonder for the sitcom's audience, as the comeback after a long year off was watched by millions, according to a report by TV Line.
The season 7 premiere of Last Man Standing managed an amazing 1.8 Nielsen rating in the key demographic. It had 8 million total viewers, blowing its last season premiere on ABC out of the water. Season 6 opened to 6 million viewers, with a 1.1 rating, making it much less attractive to advertisers and therefore less profitable for the network.
Last Man Standing even exceeded its average from last season, which was 6.9 million viewers with a 1.2 Nielsen rating. All in all, this premiere was the series' best performance in terms of viewership since the season 2 premiere. Back then, it managed to hit a 2.0 rating — practically unheard of in the age of streaming and DVRs.
The news is even better in terms of critical response to the comeback. The season 7 premiere of Last Man Standing holds a 92 percent positive audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That score is the average out of 37 ratings. Likewise, TV Line's audience poll gave the show a B, with 86 percent of viewers saying that they would keep watching.
Among professional critics, the outlook is not as good. Rotten Tomatoes gathered six reviews of the season premiere, averaging them for a 67 percent rating. On Metacritic, the same number of reviews yielded a 58 percent positive rating.
Still, the audience has spoken, and things are looking good for the future of Last Man Standing. Tim Allen took to Twitter himself after the premiere, thanking fans for their support and promising big things to come.
"Thanks from all of us for your eyes on our reboot," Allen wrote. "Next week is even better."
Allen was incensed when the show was canceled back in the spring of 2017, feeling that one of the few conservative voices on TV was getting purposefully stifled. He spoke to Fox News about the need for diverse voices in the media, saying that his character, Mike Baxter, is more tolerant than he is in real life.
"When you get into this world — these two guys are not the same guy. You know, Mike Baxter is much more tolerant of other ideas than me on stage. Me, personally — Tim Allen is nobody's business, and really, who cares what I think," Allen said.
Last Man Standing airs every Friday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.