Tim Allen comedy Last Man Standing has been cancelled by American network ABC after six seasons. The show aired on CMT in Canada.
The sitcom was doing fairly well over its first five seasons, but in its sixth, it started to see a slight dip in ratings. A specific reason for the cancellation wasn’t provided by 20th Century Fox TV, the show’s production studio, but both financial and “show substance” theories have been floated.
On Last Man Standing, Allen played Mike Baxter, “a quintessential man’s man.” Living at home with his three daughters and his wife, the show centred on Baxter being the only male in an all-female household (except for his oldest daughter’s young son). Baxter is famously old-fashioned with right-leaning values, and this clashed with his female cohabitants. Of course, Baxter also worked at a sporting-goods store, surrounded by men, and his day job consisted of selling guns and other outdoorsy items.
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The show often featured jokes about Obamacare and Hillary Clinton’s emails, and members of the Duck Dynasty cast appeared in guest spots.
Called the “perfect sitcom for the Donald Trump era,” Last Man Standing was one of the only shows on TV featuring this right-wing point of view, and some sources believe that this may have been the reason for its cancellation, since its ratings were decent throughout its run.
Allen, for his part, has been very outspoken on talk shows and in public. He is not shy about his conservative views, but has claimed in the past that you have to “be careful” when expressing unpopular opinions. So was the subject matter of Last Man Standing the reason for its downfall?
Amber Dowling, TV critic and president of the Television Critics Association, disagrees with this theory, and thinks the reason it was cancelled was a combination of finances and ratings.
“Last Man Standing has never shied away from its right-wing stance; it actually seemed to embrace it in the show’s later years,” said Dowling to Global News. “I think the reason had more to do with the financials than anything else. The new ABC Entertainment president, Channing Dungey, has actually said heading into the pilot season that she’s looking for ways to better represent the ‘right’ side, so this show would have fit that bill.”
“LMS is produced by 20th Century Fox TV, and shows that aren’t produced by the network’s own studios are usually trickier deals to navigate,” she continued. “From what I understand at this point in the show’s life, most of the costs would fall on ABC, and with Tim Allen starring in it, I believe it’s a more expensive sitcom to produce than most. The ratings were respectable for a Friday night, but they weren’t stellar by any means, so I’m sure that was a factor as well.”
Regardless of the reason, Allen can rest easy knowing he’s been successful (again) at carrying a primetime sitcom for multiple seasons. Of course, Allen led the hit comedy Home Improvement for 8 seasons, from 1991 to 1999.
And not to worry, Allen fans — you can still catch reruns of Last Man Standing in syndication on CMT.