Ever since ABC cancelled Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing TV show last week, fans have wondered if the family comedy series got the axe, partially in reaction to Allen’s conservative politics. ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters today, that the Last Man Standing cancellation came down to a business decision.
The Last Man Standing TV series follows straight-talker Mike Baxter (Tim Allen), a man surrounded by women. The ABC cast also includes Nancy Travis, Molly Ephraim, Kaitlyn Dever, Amanda Fuller, Jordan Masterson, Flynn Morrison, Jonathan Adams, Christoph Sanders, and Hector Elizondo.
TV Line reports:
[In] a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey waved off the suggestion that Allen’s politics informed the axing.
“Look, sadly, a large part of these jobs [as network bosses] is managing failure. We have to make the tough calls and cancel shows that we otherwise would love to stay on the air,” she said. “But I cancelled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons that I cancelled The Real O’Neals, Dr. Ken, The Catch and American Crime.
“Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me, because it was a steady performer in the ratings,” Dungey acknowledged, “but once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Friday, that was where we landed.”
ABC this fall will open Friday night with Once Upon a Time‘s seventh season. Marvel’s Inhumans will follow at 9/8c, then cede that time slot to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. after its 8-episode run ends. Explaining that combo, Dungey said the network was curious to see how Once performs away from Sunday night football, and that there has always been viewer interest in seeing the fantasy drama paired with S.H.I.E.L.D.
Of course, Last Man Standing was also a pricey sitcom, fueled by TV vet Allen’s salary, and it also is produced not by ABC but 20th Century Fox TV. Addressing the ownership issue, Dungey said, “I wouldn’t say that that was the sole factor in not bringing Last Man Standing back.”
Last Man Standing: A Look at the Ratings
The sixth season of Last Man Standing averaged a 1.15 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 6.41 million viewers. Compared to the fifth season, that’s down by 5% only in both measures. That’s not a big decline for a show six years into its run.
Although when sorted by ratings demo numbers Last Man Standing ranks 12th among the 25 scripted ABC TV shows we’re tracking, in terms of average total audience size it’s a top three show.
Remember, the sitcom racked up those numbers on Friday nights, when the audience is smaller. Since Last Man Standing was the Alphabet Network’s 2nd most-watch sitcom (following Modern Family), fans were understandably surprised by the cancellation.
What do you think? Were you a fan of the Last Man Standing TV series? Should it have been cancelled or renewed for a seventh season on ABC?