ABC decision to cancel Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing was one of the biggest shockers of the upfront season.
The multicamera comedy produced by 20th Century Fox Television was in its sixth season and had carved out a solid viewership on little-watched Friday nights. For the uninitiated, Fridays are typically earmarked for programming with reduced viewership expectations, where a comedy like Last Man Standing and its 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 8.3 million viewers is seen as impressive.
"A large part of these jobs are managing failure, and we have made the tough calls and canceled shows that we would otherwise love to stay on the air. That’s the job. I canceled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons that I canceled Dr. Ken, The Real O'Neals, The Catch and American Crime," ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters Tuesday ahead of her upfront presentation to advertisers. "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."
Dungey stressed that star Allen's conservative leaning (he's pro-Trump) did not factor into her decision to cancel the series and noted that the Disney-owned network axed programming from multiple studios: Sony Pictures Television (Dr. Ken, Imaginary Mary), Warner Bros. Television (Time After Time) and even its own ABC Studios (The Catch, American Crime).
Additionally, that Last Man was wrapping its sixth season meant Allen would need to renegotiate his contract — adding an additional costs to the aging series as ABC also was set to shoulder a larger share of the overall price tag on the comedy.