In May, ABC abruptly announced that it was cancelling Tim Allen's Last Man Standing, a conservative-leaning show that had a loyal fanbase, solid ratings, and met all the criteria to be considered one of the network's "anchor" shows. The cancellation, which Allen said he was "stunned and blindsided" by, resulted in an outcry from fans, many of whom assumed for good reason that the network cancelled the "Trump-friendly" show because of its non-progressive politics. Three months later, executives at ABC are assuring their audience that politics had "nothing to do with it."
When the stunning move was first announced, ABC President of Entertainment Channing Dungey told the public that cancellation of its second-highest rated comedy was business as usual, and said of the show's politics, “I wouldn’t say that was the deciding factor." As the petition which gained hundreds of thousands of signatures indicates, a lot of fans weren't buying ABC's weak explanation.
So this week, Dungey tried again, this time with a bit more emphasis.
"Politics had absolutely nothing to do with it," Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Press Association press tour in Beverly Hills on Sunday. "Last Man Standing was a show that, several years running, kind of came up to the very end in terms of the renewal, which was the same case this year."
"We have actors on our shows who have all sorts of political views," she added. "Tim Allen is a valuable part of the Disney family and has been for a very long time."
Despite ABC's attempt to strengthen its defense, many conservatives still aren't buying it, including Tom Lahren, who tweeted that someone needs to "throw the BS flag":
When the cancellation was first announced, Allen tweeted, "Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years."
A look at the numbers makes clear why Allen and other conservatives are calling foul. The show was ABC's second most-watched comedy only behind Modern Family, with 8.1 million views and 8.7 million views, respectively, and the networks third most-watched scripted series, behind only Modern Family and Grey's Anatomy.
Fox News notes that one of the new shows ABC canned it's ratings machine to launch is Inhumans, "which has already been trashed by critics and viewers after the trailer was released." But ABC is begging fans to give the show a chance, saying what's been seen so far is "not the finished product."
Yet again, another network drives a wedge between itself and half the country. Not a wise "business decision," ABC.