Back in May, ABC canceled Tim Allen’s sitcom Last Man Standing. The rumors surrounding the show’s cancellation pointed to the conservative themes at the heart of Allen’s character. The backlash was immediate. The show had run for six seasons, and had decent ratings, so the cancellation was unexpected.
As The Daily Mail reported, “Allen’s character, an outspoken conservative, echoed the political positions of the 64-year-old actor, a Republican who attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration.”
ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey continues to deny the accusations even today. She told reporters past Sunday that Allen’s politics had “had absolutely nothing to do with” the decision to end the show.
“Tim Allen is a valuable part of the Disney ABC family and has been for a very, very long time,” she said. “‘Last Man Standing’ was a show that, several years running, kind of came up to the very end in terms of the renewal, which was the same case this year.”
Dungey called Last Man Standing a “high quality show.” Still, it was canceled. After the news broke, Allen tweeted that he was “stunned and blindsided” by ABC’s move.
A petition on Change.org got over 300,000 signatures. Those signing the petition echoed concern that the liberal ideals of the Hollywood system dominated the mainstream programming of networks like ABC, and that Allen’s show was the lone exception.
“A large part of these jobs are managing failure,” Dungey said, “and we have made the tough calls and canceled shows that we would otherwise love to stay on the air.”
“That’s the job. I canceled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons that I canceled Dr. Ken, The Real O’Neals, The Catch and American Crime.
“Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings, but once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Fridays, that was where we landed.”
It would seem that ABC is claiming that it was just routine show-business as usual that the show was axed.
Daily Mail noted that Neilsen had “Allen’s show ranked No. 48 in viewership among broadcast shows this season, with an average of 5.89 million viewers.”
The Neilen rating puts it ahead of other ABC shows that have been invited back. Black-ish, Shark Tank and The Goldbergs are all behind Last Man Standing.
Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy were the only other scripted shows on ABC sitcom to have more viewers.
“You’ve gotta be real careful around here,” Allen said on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes. This is like ’30s Germany. I don’t know what happened. If you’re not part of the group, you know, ‘What we believe is right!’ I go, ‘Well I might have a problem with that.’ I’m a comedian, I like going on both sides.”
The explanations about the show continue to ring hollow with fans, though. Some are speculating that it is because Robert Iger, the CEO of The Walt Disney Company, which owns ABC, is rumored to be considering a run for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. While he’s not announced anything substantial, yet, the move away from Last Man Standing could be a move meant to clean up ABC’s political leaning.