ABC is breaking its silence on its decision to cancel Last Man Standing — and so is star Tim Allen.
The axing of Allen’s sitcom, which delivered a strong 8 million viewers on Friday nights, has upset fans — particularly conservative viewers who feel the show’s conservative star was singled out. ABC entertainment president Channing Dungey defended her decision to reporters on a conference call Tuesday, noting she also canceled shows with decidedly more progressive politics this year, like producer John Ridley’s acclaimed drama American Crime and columnist Dan Savage’s comedy The Real O’Neals.
“A large part of these jobs are managing failure and we’ve made the tough calls and canceled shows that we’d otherwise love to stay on the air,” Dungey said. “That’s the job. I canceled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons that I canceled Dr. Ken, The Real O’Neals, The Catch and American Crime. And Last Man Standing was a challenging one for me because it was a steady performer in the ratings, but once we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Fridays, that was where we landed.”
Meanwhile Allen took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the matter: “Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years,” he wrote.
In the wake of news that Last Man Standing was canceled, fans started an online petition pledging to boycott the Disney-owned network.
“Last Man Standing stands out in the sea of network television sitcoms. It is a show that appeals to a broad swath of Americans who find very few shows that extol the virtues with which they can identify; namely conservative values,” reads the petition, which topped 106,000 signatures as of this writing. “Last Man Standing was not just selling conservative ideals though, as some of the characters in the show are clearly of the liberal persuasion, yet the characters on the show all manage to get along and take care of one another, despite their politically opposed views … Last Man Standing is one of the only shows on broadcast television, and the only sitcom, that is not constantly shoving liberal ideals down the throats of the viewers. And sadly, that is likely the real reason the show has been canceled.”
Earlier this year, during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Allen compared being a Republican in Hollywood to 1930s Germany. He previously told Fox News, “What I find odd in Hollywood is that they didn’t like Trump because he was a bully. But if you had any inkling that you were for Trump, you got bullied for doing that. And it gets a bit hypocritical for me.”
ABC just announced its fall schedule, revealing the Friday 8 p.m. hour that housed Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken will now be taken by the seventh season of Once Upon a Time, which Dungey confirmed will have a full 22 episodes despite downsizing its cast this year.