May 10, 2014 12:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
ABC Renews 'Last Man Standing,' Orders Two More Comedies
Following prolonged negotiations with 20th Century Fox Television, ABC has renewed Tim Allen's Last Man Standing and picked up two additional half-hours from the studio: semi-autobiographical Cristela Alonzo comedy and Fresh Off the Boat.
The Allen comedy will be back for a fourth season on the network after continuing to anchor the network's Friday originals. The series has been a sturdy performer at 8 p.m., pulling a 1.3 among adults 18-49 -- slightly better than NBC's already renewed Parks and Recreation -- and growing to a 1.9 with DVR, helping to lure a broader audience to the female-skewing network. With the pickup, what was the network's lone multicamera entry is inching closer to the episode count needed for syndication.
Joining Last Man on the schedule is fellow multicamera entry Cristela, starring Alonzo. The comedy was filmed on a shoestring budget after ABC passed on ordering the project to pilot. Studio 20th TV took the penalty and filmed a "proof of concept" presentation using the Last Man Standing stage with the crew behind the studio's Allen comedy including director/co-EP John Pasquin.
The series tells the story of Cristela, an American Latina straddling two cultures while not fully belonging to either. In her sixth year of law school, Cristela (Alonzo) is finally on the brink of landing her first big (unpaid) internship at a prestigious law firm. The only problem is that her pursuit of success is more ambitious than her traditional Mexican-American family thinks is appropriate. She's stuck straddling the old culture she's trying to modernize at home with her working-class family and the modern world she’s trying to embrace in her professional career. Carlos Ponce, Terri Hoyos, Andrew Leeds and Sam McMurray co-star.
Alonzo wrote and exec produced the presentation alongside Kevin Hench. Hench, Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy and Becky Clements exec produce via their studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein banner. Pasquin directed the pilot. With the renewal of Last Man Standing and Cristela's pickup, 21 Laps/Adelstein will now have two series on ABC's schedule next season.
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Meanwhile, Fresh Off the Boat hails from Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 showrunner Nahnatchka Khan, the single-camera comedy is based on Eddie Huang's memoir of the same name. The comedy, which Khan writes and exec produces alongside Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar, revolves around hip-hop loving Eddie (Hudson Yang) as he grows up in suburban Orlando, raised by an immigrant father (Randall Park) who is obsessed with all things American and an immigrant mother (Constance Wu) who is often bewildered by white culture. With his father owning and operating an All-American Steakhouse chain, this loving family of "fresh off the boat" Taiwanese-Americans try to live the American dream while still maintaining their cultural identity and sense of family.
Boat was one of two comedy pilots Khan had in the works this season. Fox passed on family comedy Fatrick earlier this week. The pickup marks her return to ABC after the network axed James Van Der Beek/Krysten Ritter comedy Apartment 23 after two seasons.
For ABC, Cristela and Boat bring the network's comedy haul to six -- up one year-over-year. They join Anthony Anderson's Black-ish, Emily Kapnek's Selfie, Jeff Lowell's Manhattan Love Story and high-concept musical fairy tale Galavant from The Neighbors boss Dan Fogelman. They join a roster of returning comedies The Goldbergs -- ABC's lone freshman half-hour to earn a second run -- as well as veterans The Middle and Emmy darling Modern Family.