9:45am PT by Lesley Goldberg, Bryn Elise Sandberg
ABC Renews 'Last Man Standing,' Orders Minnie Driver's 'Speechless' to Series
Following Thursday's bloodbath, ABC finished its pre-upfronts decisions Friday with a renewal and a new-series order following a prolonged negotiation with producers 20th Century Fox Television.
The Disney-owned network renewed veteran comedy Last Man Standing for a sixth season and ordered single-camera comedy Speechless to series.
Despite multiple showrunner switch-ups, multicam comedy Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen as a loudmouthed, right-wing outdoorsman, has managed a solid five-season run on ABC. This past season, the half-hour hit the key 100-episode milestone and sold into syndication on the Hallmark Channel, where repeats of Allen's Home Improvement also air. With Dr. Ken's season-two renewal, ABC appears poised to keep its Friday comedy pairing as is for 2016-2017. Produced by 20th TV, Last Man averaged a 1.8 rating in its 8 p.m. slot.
Last Man joins fellow returning comedies including Dr. Ken, The Real O'Neals, Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, The Middle, The Goldbergs and Modern Family.
For its part, Speechless is yet another of ABC's many family comedies that look to depict part of society that isn't often reflected on the small screen.
The comedy centers on a family with a special-needs child that is good with dealing with the challenges it faces and even better at creating new ones. Minnie Driver and The Big Bang Theory's John Ross Bowie lead the cast, which also includes Micah Fowler, Cedric Yarbrough, Mason Cook, Micah Fowler and Kyla Kenedy.
Written by Friends alum Scott Silveri, the single-camera comedy is a co-production between 20th Century Fox Television and ABC Studios. New Girl's Jake Kasdan and Fresh Off the Boat's Melvin Mar executive produce.
Speechless becomes ABC's fourth new comedy for next season, joining Downward Dog, Imaginary Mary and the untitled Sarah Dunn entry formerly known as The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport.
Insiders note that ABC is likely done with its new-series pickups.