ABC caused a bit of an uproar recently when it made the surprise announcement in May that it would no longer carry Tim Allen’s popular and successful program “Last Man Standing.” Faithwire previously reported on the cancellation, which some concluded was cancelled because it was a successful show with strong Christian, conservative themes.
The ratings were admittedly strong, even according to ABC execs, leaving fans of the show baffled as to why they decided to part ways. From Deadline:
With a central character who is a political conservative and devout Christian adhering to traditional American values, the blue-collar comedy appeals to viewers in the Heartland, a constituency that helped elect Donald Trump as president and has been energized post-election as evidenced by the ratings success of new USA drama Shooter. That was also a swath of America ABC had been looking to reflect better, mostly on the drama side, as the network’s entertainment president Channing Dungey has noted this season.
Pure Flix made public comments suggesting they’d love to pick up the program, but since that time there have been no reports of further talks. New reports today, from The Hollywood Reporter, claim that CMT (Country Music Channel) is in preliminary talks to pick up the program. From THR:
CMT may come to the rescue of another canceled ABC series.
The Viacom-owned network is in preliminary talks to revive canceled Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing. Insiders stress talks are in the early stages as CMT is exploring if it can revive the expensive show at a price point that works for the niche cable network. It’s unclear if a deal will be made as insiders cautioned that a renewal at CMT may be a long shot given the price tag on the veteran series. Also unclear is how big of a renewal the show could get as everything from a short order to multiple-season/20-episode run have been rumored. 20th TV, which has already placed calls to writers about a potential revival, and CMT declined comment.
There is clear demand for the program, as Tim Allen is a proven comedic talent who gets results.
As Faithwire previously reported, “Last Man Standing” was a lock in the ratings on ABC.
The show features many Christian themes and traditional American values, something often mocked or ignored by Hollywood. Could the move have been politically motivated? This would be quite a costly political statement, given how successful Last Man Standing has been. Deadline has more on the ratings:
In its sixth and final season, Last Man Standing averaged a very respectable for any night and especially Friday, 1.2 Live+same day rating in adults 18-64 and 6.4 million viewers, winning its 8-8:30 PM time slot. While most returning shows were down year-to-year 20-30%, LMS was virtually flat, off just by 5% in total viewers and adults 18-49 (L+SD).
Why would a network be willing to take such a drastic hit to the bottom line? One possible reason is the coming season, ABC was set to take on additional production costs related to the show. Still, no attempt was made to negotiate with 20th Century Fox to lower the costs or even begin a discussion.