Actor and stand-up comedian Tim Allen, one of the few openly conservative voices left in Hollywood, spoke with Norm Macdonald about ABC's abrupt cancellation of his hit show Last Man Standing, which Allen — and basically any honest person who's looked at the ratings — believes was at least partly politically motivated. During the exchange, Allen said that in today's climate nothing is perceived as more "dangerous" than a "funny, likable conservative."
Allen's show was cancelled in May after six highly successful seasons and no real evidence of that success slowing down anytime soon. Allen responded a week later by saying he was "stunned and blindsided" by ABC's decision. In a sit-down on Norm Macdonald Live this week, Allen expanded on his response to the show's demise and framed the decision in a larger cultural context.
Allen said he had "no idea" why the network handled the situation the way it did, but then suggested that he believes the conservative nature of the show, especially his character, Mike Baxter, was likely part of the equation. He told Macdonald that he wanted Last Man Standing to be a modern version of All in the Family, with Baxter containing echoes of Archie Bunker.
"Archie Bunker pushed boundaries, but [actor] Carroll O’Connor was not that guy at all," said Allen. His Baxter character was "a version of that guy," he said. "But there’s nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative.”
Comedians, said Allen, are partly "anarchists," who should constantly try to push the limits.
Macdonald began the interview by bringing up McCarthyism and comparing it to modern day anti-conservatism in the entertainment industry. Allen responded with an analogy to the concept of "God's will" vs. free will. If one is punished for deviating from God's will, he said, that's not exactly free will. The same goes with the current politically correct climate, he suggested. Macdonald then asked Allen if he felt like he'd been "punished" for being a conservative, but Allen shrugged it off.
Allen also discussed the failure to reach a deal with CMT to revive the show, saying that the network handled the negotiations badly, ultimately stringing along the 190 people who had worked on the show.
Watch (interview with Allen begins around the 3:45 mark):
When Allen's show was first cancelled, The Daily Wire's John Nolte summed up just how stunning ABC's move was in light of the "anchor" show's ratings:
Every week, the half-hour comedy, one of the very few aimed to appeal to America's heartland, won its time-slot in the all-important demo, including 6.4 million overall same-day viewers. Deadline further adds that "[w]hile most returning shows were down year-to-year 20-30%, LMS was virtually flat, off just by 5% in total viewers and adults 18-49[.]" ...
Last Man Standing was ABC's Friday anchor, meaning a show that could not only be counted on to win the night but one that kept viewers tuned in to whatever shows came after. Anchors are also crucially important when it comes to launching new shows. ...
The real money in the sitcom business comes from syndication rights, selling the reruns on a per episode basis to other networks. Last Man Standing is not only a syndication smash, a virtual cash cow, per Deadline it is the "rare off-network ratings success story these days."
H/T TV Line