Tim Allen returned to network sitcom-land Tuesday night, and the numbers show just why the former "Home Improvement" guy remains a family-friendly TV star.
The critics pretty much detested "Last Man Standing," which finds Allen as a cranky, middle-aged dad of three daughters who just can't understand these kids today. The show earned a score of 32 out of 100 from Metascore, a critics' compilation site -- the type of result usually reserved for dreck such as the CW's just-canceled reality-show atrocity "H8R."
Viewers showed up anyway. "Last Man" averaged a respectable 13 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That was good enough for a strong second behind CBS' monster hit "NCIS" (18.6 million), which presumably draws on many of the same mid-American viewers.
In the crucial adults aged 18-to-49 demographic, "Last Man" drew a solid 3.5 rating ("NCIS" logged a 3.9). And the audience grew over the show's one-hour premiere special. Overall, it was the best debut for an 8 p.m. comedy anywhere on network TV in the last seven years.
So the critics can carp all they want, but thanks to Allen, it looks like we're a long way from seeing the last of "Last Man."
What did you think of Tim Allen's new show?
-- Scott Collins
Photo: On "Last Man Standing," Tim Allen tries to get to the bottom of this Internet thing. Credit: Randy Holmes / ABC.