Last Man Standing creator Jack Burditt is leaving the freshman ABC comedy series. Veteran comedy showrunner Kevin Abbott is expected to take over the reins of the show after Thanksgiving if he gets a sign-off from TV Land, where he is under contract. For 20th Century Fox TV, which produces Last Man Standing, Abbott was the top choice to replace Burditt as he successfully stepped in for the departing creator of another 20th TV comedy, Reba, several years ago. Coincidentally, Abbott is now writing a new comedy project starring Reba McEntire, which has a put pilot commitment at ABC. If it goes to series and Last Man Standing is renewed for a second season, Abbott will run both series concurrently. In addition to shepherding the McEntire-starring project Malibu Country, Abbott also has a deal with TV Land, where serves as a consulting producer on Retired At 35. He is now in the process of getting out of his contract at the cable network to join Last Man Standing. Burditt, on whose life Last Man Standing is based, suffered a family tragedy earlier this fall. He took an extended leave of absence, and when he eventually returned on the show, he felt he couldn’t stay on for the long haul. For most of Last Man Standing‘s fall run, showrunner duties have been handled by Burditt’s deputies Marsh McCall and Andy Gordon. After a solid debut, the family sitcom starring Tim Allen received a full-season order.
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