ABC: Of course we didn't ax Tim Allen over his conservative views

It’s been a while now since ABC decided to cancel Tim Allen’s wildly popular show, Last Man Standing, and the confusion and controversy over the decision has only grown. The accusations of partisan politicking at the network began almost immediately and they really haven’t let up a bit. This week, ABC executives were taken to task yet again and it looks like they’re sticking with their original story. Nope. No political motives. Nothing to see here, so move along. But now they’ve added a new element to the explanation. (Associated Press, emphasis added)

“Politics had absolutely nothing to do with it,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles.

“We have actors on our shows who have all sorts of political views. Tim Allen is a valuable part of the Disney family and has been for a very long time.”

She described “Last Man Standing” as a “high quality show” but added that the network had not been able to find room in the schedules for a seventh season.

Excuse me, but did you just say that you couldn’t find room in the schedule for it? Last Man Standing wasn’t just a little popular. It was pulling down a 1.7 share with more than 8 million viewers on a Friday night. (People who follow the industry will tell you that Friday night is usually a dead zone for ratings and a set of time slots where shows go to die.) It wasn’t just doing okay… it was a ratings machine for that time slot. And how many other shows did ABC try that never got off the ground this past year? The Catch, Conviction, Imaginary Mary… there’s a laundry list of shows that the network launched – along with the rest of their competitors – which all got the ax after only one or two seasons when they failed to build an audience. It’s staggering to think how much money they flushed into those efforts with no payoff. When you’ve got a show like Tim Allen’s which is actually paying the bills, you don’t just run out of room on the schedule for it.

Back in May, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey was questioned about this and at first claimed that it was a typical business decision. But when pressed further about Allen’s political views, Dungey said, “I wouldn’t say that was the deciding factor.” These arguments run on the thin side at best. I realize they don’t feel like they can come out in public and make an official declaration of anti-conservative policy because they fear the backlash from both viewers and sponsors. But if you want us to buy into your claims, you’ll have to do a little better than that.

Fox News captured a few of the fan responses on Twitter and viewers didn’t seem to be impressed with the excuses being offered.

It seems as if the show can’t even land at another network to pick up where it left off because of ABC / Disney ownership complications. If ABC has a lick of sense left, when Inhumans (the scheduled replacement for Allen’s show this fall) inevitably fails and gets cancelled they should seriously considering bringing back Allen’s show. But only after offering a very public and sincere apology for the shoddy treatment he received.

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