ABC Cancels “Last Man Standing” Because of Tim Allen’s Conservative Views-Unproven!

Summary of eRumor:

ABC has canceled Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” because of the show’s conservative views and Allen’s support of President Donald Trump.

The Truth:

ABC canceled Tim Allen’s “Last Man Standing” in May 2017, but there wasn’t any indication  that the cancellation was due to Allen’s support of Trump, or the show’s conservative leanings.

In “Last Man Standing,” Tim Allen plays everyman Mike Baxter, a conservative father of three daughters. ABC explains in a plot summary that Baxter is “surrounded by forces seeking to challenge his ideas and everything in which he strongly believes. He tries to escape all the female drama at home in the warm, manly embrace of his job at the Outdoor Man store, a sporting goods emporium where he is marketing director.”

ABC announced in May 2017 that Last Man Standing would not return for a seventh season. Right-wing news sites like Breitbart and The Blaze hinted that ABC cancelled the show because of Mike Baxter’s (fictional) conservative views, and/or because of Tim Allen’s real ones. Baxter dressed up as Trump in an episode that aired in October 2016. Allen, meanwhile, threw his support behind Ohio Gov John Kasich early in the 2016 presidential race before he warmed up to Trump, saying in early 2016, “(Trump) says a lot of stupid stuff but what he can do, he should do.”

Conservative views of Mike Baxter and Tim Allen aside, there doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support claims that ABC cancelled the show because of politics. Deadline reported that ABC’s previous decisions to renew “Last Man Standing” had come down to the wire. Tim Allen’s hefty salary and negotiations over license fees between ABC and the show’s producing studio, 20th Century Fox, had complicated matter in the past. Those issues appeared to have come to a head when the show was canceled in May 2017:

ABC has opted not to renew the longtime Friday 8 PM anchor for Season 7 despite the fact that the blue-collar sitcom was ABC’s second most watched comedy this season with 8.1 million viewers in Live +7, only behind flagship Modern Family (8.7 million). It was the third most watched ABC scripted series overall behind Grey’s Anatomy and  Modern Family.

The Tim Allen-starring multi-camera sitcom often had gone down to the wire on renewals, with ABC and producing studio 20th Century Fox TV wrangling over the series’ license fee. ABC is supposed to cover the cost of the show at this point in its run, and LMS is on the higher end for a multi-camera sitcom because of the marquee salary Allen commands, but 20th TV had agreed to license fee reductions in the past and reportedly were open to another one. This time, there was no negotiating or bargaining, with ABC simply deciding against another season.

Deadline went on to report that “Last Man Standing” ratings were “very respectable” for any week night show —  and especially for a Friday night time slot — with 6.4 million viewers. The show’s ratings dipped about 5 percent year-over in 2017, but most return shows saw their ratings dip 20-30 percent over that period. That fueled speculation that ABC’s decision was based on politics, but there’s no outward indication that that’s true. It would appear from industry reporting that ABC’s decision was based on finances, not politics. That’s why we’re calling this one “unproven.”

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 05/12/2017