As Faithwire previously reported, ABC made headlines and angered a lot of fans when they made the surprise announcement that they were cancelling their popular ‘Last Man Standing’ program starring Tim Allen.
The reaction was swift and furious, with many expressing the belief that the program was cancelled because of the prominently featured conservative and Christian themes. By all measures, the program was a success but solid ratings weren’t enough to save the program from getting cut.
Tim Allen finally broke his silence on the surprise move, expressing complete and total shock:
Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years. #lastmanstanding
— Tim Allen (@ofctimallen) May 16, 2017
Allen clearly had no advance warning, perhaps not even a hint, of what was to come. Was this a carefully planned out move by ABC or more of a rash judgment? It’s bad form to leave a good partner “blindsided” by news such as this.
ABC, for their part, is claiming innocence. According to The Washington Post, they are denying they cancelled the program because of politically conservative themes. Here’s what they said:
In a conference call Tuesday to announce ABC’s fall schedule, entertainment president Channing Dungey said “Last Man Standing” was canceled for “business and scheduling reasons,” and a big part of her job is to “make the tough calls and cancel shows we would love to have on.”“[‘Last Man Standing’] was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings,” Dungey said. “Once we made the decision to not continue with comedies on Friday, that was where we landed.” (Starting in the fall, fairy-tale drama “Once Upon a Time” moves to Friday nights, taking over the time slot from “Last Man Standing” and “Dr. Ken.”)
“Last Man Standing” is also produced by outside studio 20th Century Fox TV, and not ABC Studios, which means there’s less potential financial reward for ABC’s parent company, Disney. While Dungey said that many reasons go into a cancellation decision (ratings, viewer engagement, critical acclaim, ideas for future seasons), ownership structure plays a role. Still, she said, “I wouldn’t say that was the sole factor in not bringing ‘Last Man Standing’ back.”
ABC appears to be admitting that finances weren’t the main factor in the decision, which was a big talking point for those who felt conservatives were overreacting. Later in the call, a reporter specifically asked about whether or not politics played a role:
“There’s a lot of news, and I think that people are definitely looking to television as a place they want to feel, they want to laugh, they want to cry … the mood of the country has told us that television is a little bit of an escape,” Dungey said. “What people want to do now is connect and experience and to feel … that did frame a lot of our development thinking this season.”
Several outlets are reporting that ABC is denying the political motivation charge, but this answer seems a bit vague. Does this mean they are abandoning anything remotely political? Or is this only a concern when shows successfully poke fun at one side of the aisle?
The petition on Change.org has over 181,000 supporters. There’s many more on social media as well.
In other ABC programming news, they have just green-lit a reboot of Roseanne Barr.
The only question now is, if ABC doesn’t want Last Man Standing, who will pick it up?
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