Tim Allen ‘stunned’ and fans outraged by ABC axing his show
NEW YORK — Have viewers seen the last of “Last Man Standing”? Not without a fight, at least to judge by the uproar over ABC’s announcement that the Tim Allen sitcom won’t be back in the fall.
A warm family comedy about a man who stays addled by the females in his life while being buffeted by cultural forces he fears undermine his manliness, “Last Man Standing” has long been a quiet mainstay on ABC’s Friday schedule.
But apparently not much longer.
“Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years,” Allen tweeted Tuesday afternoon, the same day ABC officially announced its 2017-18 lineup with “Last Man Standing” absent.
The show’s fate was sealed when the network decided to scrap its Friday comedies, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a teleconference Tuesday. By then the move had spurred an online petition on change.org calling for a boycott of ABC for yanking the show and praising the show’s “conservative values” — values many angry fans accuse ABC of wanting to muzzle.
Dungey wouldn’t specifically address a reporter’s question about whether politics played any role in the show’s axing. She did say the same factors that go into decisions about renewing any of the network’s shows — including ratings, financial considerations and the possibility for future artistic growth — were considered in this case. Once ABC made the decision not to stay with comedies on Friday, “that’s where we landed,” she said.
Fans of the show weren’t convinced, and they might have reason to wonder. “Last Man Standing” ranked No. 48 in viewership among broadcast shows this season, with an average of 5.89 million viewers, the Nielsen Co. said. That’s more viewers than some other ABC series that have been invited back, including “black-ish,” ”Shark Tank” and “The Goldbergs,” which just scored a two-year renewal for a fifth and sixth season.
“Your decision to cancel (“Last Man Standing“) was politically motivated! The explanation of cost is a LIE!” declared a typical tweet.
Other posts noted that a canceled show not infrequently finds a second life on a new channel. CMT, Hallmark and Netflix were among the networks “Last Man Standing” fans endorsed as a suitable new home for this show.