Hey, did you know Tim Allen is conservative? He only mentions that fact every so often, from the time he defended attending Donald Trump’s inauguration to the time he criticized liberal Hollywood for “bullying” people who supported the then-president-elect. And on Wednesday, the comedian brought up the topic yet again while complaining about the cancellation of his popular ABC sitcom Last Man Standing, which was abruptly shut down by the network in May after six seasons.
Allen bemoaned the show’s demise in an interview with Norm Macdonald (at the 35-minute mark above), and he had good reason to: back in May, TV pundits were surprised that ABC opted to ax the series, which aired on Friday nights and had legitimately consistent ratings for years. Allen, it seems, is still quite sore about it—and he partly blames the show’s end on the fact that his character, a dad named Mike Baxter, was openly conservative.
“There is nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative character,” Allen told Macdonald. “He’s mitigated by a family of women who had a difference of opinions, but the guy was a likable guy.”
Allen said he always wanted the character to be like Archie Bunker, the blustering lead from Norman Lear’s classic sitcom All in the Family. The difference between Allen and actor Carroll O’Connor, who played Bunker, is that Allen actually holds the same beliefs as his character. “I’m a version of that guy,” he said, adding that he still has “no idea” why ABC canceled the show. Left unspoken: despite its relatively good ratings, Last Man Standing was largely trashed by critics, who found it predictable and tiresome. (Can a character be considered dangerous if they’re also boring?)
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter this past spring, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey explained that it was “tough” to kill Last Man, but that the decision ultimately came down to scheduling.
“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,” she said.
Dungey also stressed that the cancellation had nothing to do with the conservative lean on the show, or the fact that Allen was fervently pro-Trump. Prior to the cancellation, Allen made waves during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show in which he compared being a Republican in Hollywood to living in “30s Germany.”
T.H.R. also pointed out that the show had just wrapped its sixth season, and would likely have to enter into negotiations for a seventh. Allen, a seasoned sitcom star and popular stand-up comedian, likely would have come with a newly staggering price tag if the show had continued—“dangerous” politics notwithstanding.
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