Monday

May 22nd, 2017

Insight

Tim Allen's Hit Gets Canceled

L. Brent Bozell III

By L. Brent Bozell III

Published May 19, 2017

 Tim Allen's Hit Gets Canceled

In January, ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told a Television Critics Association session in Hollywood that she wanted to retool ABC programming to include more shows for Trump-voting segments of the population: men, rural America and working-class families.

"If we're talking about diversity and inclusion, I want to make sure we're inclusive of everyone," she declared. "When you think about the name, we're the American Broadcasting Company."

We've seen this movie before. The commitment to wholesome values is perhaps the emptiest statement in Hollywood.

This month, she broke that campaign promise like a politician by canceling the Tim Allen sitcom "Last Man Standing," a show appealing directly to that Trump electorate. A Change.com petition protesting the move has nearly 300,000 signatures. Allen tweeted that he was "stunned and blindsided" by the bad news.

Why was Allen fired?

The show didn't have a ratings problem — it averaged 6.4 million viewers this season, and that should be graded upward on a curve, since the show aired on Friday and the overall Friday audience is typically smaller than other weeknights. Dungey said the job of a programming executive was "managing failure," but this wasn't a failure. "It was a steady performer," she admitted. However, she added, "Once we made the decision not to continue with comedy on Friday, it was just kind of that's where we landed."

Instead, they're moving in the drama "Once Upon a Time," which averaged 3.2 million viewers this year, or half of Allen's number. In the second hour, ABC is eventually placing its show "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," which this season averaged 2.3 million viewers.

What about Saturday to Thursday? Apparently, there wasn't a slot on ABC prime time for Allen's show.

What constitutes a success at ABC? Dungey declared herself "optimistic and excited" about a third season of "Quantico," which, according to creator Joshua Safran, is opposed to "Trumpian instincts." The series just concluded with a plot that the Trump-like president wanted to merge the FBI and CIA into one giant agency and was exposed as a tool of the Russians. And the ratings? This cartoonish liberal claptrap averaged 2.7 million viewers this season, just over a third of Allen's total. It was renewed.

These surviving shows with mediocre ratings are owned by ABC. That means there are business reasons for Allen's show to be dismissed, since it's owned by 20th Century Fox. But it's the second-highest-rated ABC sitcom behind "Modern Family," which is also owned by Fox. (This season, it was ABC's third most watched scripted series behind "Modern Family" and "Grey's Anatomy.") But ABC is keeping Fox-owned "Fresh Off the Boat," which on Tuesday night drew less than 4 million viewers. Pro "diversity" ABC wasn't going to cancel an Asian-American sitcom — one with an episode last November during which a character proclaimed, "This country was founded by illegal immigrants," meaning the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock.

ABC also claims it is renewing these less-popular shows due to "critical acclaim," and that's one way Hollywood liberals can cite liberal TV critics in defense of their decisions. Tim Allen is not a critic's darling. They dismissed this show as retreading his 1990s ABC smash "Home Improvement."

So if Tim Allen's hit show is produced by Fox, why can't Fox pick it up? Deadline reported that Fox isn't airing traditional multicamera sitcoms anymore and is leaning toward "edgy" comedies to try to attract younger viewers. Fox only had two weeknight sitcoms this season, both of which struggled: the beyond crass "The Mick" (2.9 million average viewers) and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" (2.1 million average viewers). Both were renewed.

Looking at all this, you can see why Tim Allen is stunned ... and why it's easy to think that a pro-Trump TV star is suddenly out of fashion largely for reasons that have nothing to do with ratings or business.

Previously:

    05/17/17 Democracy Dies in Anonymous Sourcing

    05/12/17 The Fake News of 'The Handmaid's Tale'

    05/10/17 Historians Still Ruining Obama's Mythical Memoir

    05/05/17 Crude Comedians of 'the Resistance'

    05/03/17 Sudden Media Anger Over Happy Talk to Dictators

    04/28/17 Reagan's Lesson for Trump

    04/28/17 Trump's 100 Days of Media Hostility

    04/21/17 Hypocrisy in the Anti-O'Reilly Army

    04/19/17 Two Very Different Tax Days

    04/14/17 PBS: 'Learning' to Love Suicide Bombers?

    04/13/17 Hillary Blames Self-Hating Women for Her Loss

    04/07/17 'Complicit' First Daughters and Double Standards

    04/05/17 Susan Rice Is Still Lying

    03/31/17 Samantha Bee: Great World Leader?

    03/29/17 Fox News Covers 'Inconvenient' Rape

    03/24/17'Saturday Night Live' Supports 9/11 Killers

    03/22/17 Time to Stop Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda

    03/17/17 Hollywood Rebels Under Trump

    03/15/17 Hiding the Media's Disapproval Rating

    03/10/17 ABC's Huge Gay Propaganda Flop

    03/08/17 The Media's Anonymous-Sources Hypocrisy

    03/03/17 Trump Hits a Home Run

    03/01/17 Networks Yawn as DNC Lurches Further Left

    02/24/17 A Speech to Denounce Meryl Streep

    02/22/17 Planned Parenthood's Pandering Press

    02/17/17 'Saturday Night Live' smears Kellyanne

    02/15/17 Suddenly, Friendly Reporters Are Offensive

    02/08/17 The Great Manipulators at Time

    02/03/17 Hail the Gender-Fluid Scouts?

    02/01/17 2017: The Year Conservative Protests Are News

    01/27/17 HBO's Supervillainous 'Young Pope'

    01/25/17 The Ongoing Gosnell Blackout

    01/20/17 Snoozing at Teachers Who Abuse Children

    01/18/17 Michelle Obama's Cult in the Media

    01/13/17 Hollywood Vs. the 'Fascist' Election Result

    01/11/17 Fawning Farewells? Not for Republicans

    01/06/17 Freedom of Association Is Great ... for Libs

    01/04/17 Can Speculation Be Defined as News?

    12/30/16 Cultural Winners and Losers of 2016

    12/28/16 The Newspapers Bully Sen. Sessions

    12/23/16 The real War on Christmas . . . is a real war

    12/21/16 Who is advocating for 'banana republicism'?

    12/16/16 Obama Underlines Failure at 'The Daily Show'

    12/14/16 Whitewashing the Black President's Legacy

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