ABC’s cancellation of Last Man Standing is still making waves a week after the network axed the Tim Allen sitcom after six seasons, with a petition by fans of the series and the “conservative values” it reflected garnering more than 115,000 signatures.
On a call Tuesday, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey called the decision to not renew Last Man Standing the type of “tough calls” she needs to make in her job. Asked whether the show’s content and the fact that Allen is a prominent Republican played a role in the decision, she said, “I canceled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons I canceled The Real O’Neals, Dr. Ken, The Catch, American Crime.”
However, while the other cancelled ABC series were low rated, Last Man Standing, despite airing on the low-trafficked Friday night, was ABC’s second most watched comedy series this season, only behind Modern Family, and the third most watched ABC scripted series behind Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family.
“It was a challenging (call) because it was steady performer but when we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Friday that’s where it landed,” she added.
ABC’s Friday comedy block will be gone next fall, replaced by Once Upon a Time and Marvel’s Inhumans/Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. for a fantasy/sci-fi block.
Did the fact that Last Man Standing is not owned by ABC — it comes from 20th TV — play a role in its demise?
“The truth of the matter is that there are many factors that go into the decision-making process: ratings, critical acclaim. Of course we look at ownership structure, I don’t think we are alone,” Dungey said, quickly noting that the network has shows from multiple independent studios, including Warner Bros. TV and Sony TV. “I wouldn’t say that was the deciding factor.”
Also on Tuesday, Allen finally broke his silence about the show’s cancellation: