Asked whether star Tim Allen’s conservative leanings led to the show’s ax after six seasons, Dungey told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour that “politics had nothing to do with it. We have actors on our shows with all sorts of political views.”
“Last Man Standing,” she said, “was a show that several years running came up to the very end in terms of renewal.” This year, the network “couldn’t find room.”
Dungey still called Allen a valuable member of “the ABC family,” and indeed, “Home Improvement” was one of the network’s biggest shows of the 1990s – and Allen is, of course, the voice of iconic Disney character Buzz Lightyear.
Nonetheless, Allen has expressed his displeasure with the cancelation, tweeting in May that he felt “stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years.”
Then came the political outroar, as conservative media claimed Allen was being blackballed because of his politics.
But ABC also canceled several shows with more left-leaning themes in May, including “American Crime” and “The Real O’Neals.”
“Sadly, a large part of these jobs is managing failure,” Dungey said in May, when the cancellation was first announced. “We have to make the tough calls and cancel shows that might otherwise love to stay on the air. That’s the job. I canceled ‘Last Man Standing’ for the same business and schedule reasons that I canceled ‘The Real O’Neals,’ ‘Dr. Ken,’ ‘The Catch’ and ‘American Crime.’ ‘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 Friday, that is where we landed.”
20th Century Fox TV produces “Last Man Standing,” and as previously noted by IndieWire, shows heading into their seventh season get more expensive, as talent costs rise. “Last Man Standing” still performed well in the ratings, averaging a 1.6 in the adults 18-49. But since ABC didn’t own the show, it made the decision easier to go with a new Friday night genre strategy.