Muse Reporting on the popular and fine arts

ABC jilts GOP viewers

Television | The network says cancelling Last Man Standing wasn’t political. Time will tell.
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/26/17, 12:15 pm

After ABC yanked conservative comedian Tim Allen’s sitcom off the air, he is hoping to still claim the “last man standing” title on another TV network.

When it announced its fall lineup last week, ABC canceled Allen’s show, Last Man Standing, while retaining others with significantly fewer viewers, including 20/20, Fresh Off the Boat, and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The sitcom features Allen as a gun-toting, Obama-bashing, outdoors-loving family man—one of the only Republican TV characters who was not a villain. While ABC shows lost viewers across the board last year, Last Man Standing held onto the most, dropping only 2.2 percent.

The show’s loyal viewers say ABC must have targeted Last Man Standing because of its conservative bent. About 380,000 fans signed an online petition at Change.org asking ABC to renew the show while at the same time accusing the network of viewpoint discrimination.

“Last Man Standing is one of the only shows on broadcast television, and the only sitcom, that is not constantly shoving liberal ideals down the throats of the viewers.  And sadly, that is likely the real reason the show has been cancelled,” the petition stated.

ABC defended the show’s cancellation as a business decision, saying it no longer planned to feature comedies on Friday nights. It also pointed out it shuttered plenty of liberal shows, too, such as Scandal, which has only one season left. Other business reasons exist to cancel the show (which critics have noted but ABC hasn’t admitted): After six seasons, the show was more expensive to produce than a newer comedy; multi-camera sitcoms are a dying format; and the show was produced by 20th Century Fox Television instead of in-house by Disney-owned ABC.

Allen tweeted he was “stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years.” His own values and politics inspired those of his character on the show, and he said earlier this year on Jimmy Kimmel Live that his views make him something of an outcast in Hollywood.

“You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody else believes. This is like ’30s Germany,” he said.

Some viewers have suggested Fox should pick up the show since its TV division already produces it. The Parents Television Council released a statement Monday urging Fox to replace The Mick (which has portrayed the sexual escapades of children and teens) with Last Man Standing. If Fox bought the comedy and all of its viewers followed, it could land among the network’s top five shows.

Last Man Standing’s producers say they are shopping for a new network to call home, and since Fox is known for being more open to conservative views (mainly on its news channel), the show might be a good fit there. If Fox doesn’t bite, it might lend a little more weight to ABC’s argument that cutting the show wasn’t personal, just business.

Associated Press/Photo by Emilio Morenatti Associated Press/Photo by Emilio Morenatti A vigil in Albert Square, Manchester

A question of safety

After ISIS bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, this week, many music fans are asking whether it’s still safe to go to concerts. Stadiums, arenas, and other music venues almost universally now employ metal detectors, bag inspections, and highly visible security and police personnel. Wes Westley, CEO of the company that manages the Manchester Area, told The New York Times security was tight at the venue before the bombing.

“It was hard to get it any tighter,” he said, “We wouldn’t let people in the building.”

But terrorists don’t need to get inside the building to cause substantial damage. The explosion at the Manchester Arena took place in a vestibule outside the entrance. In December, terrorists killed 29 people with a bomb outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul, and last March’s bombing in Brussels targeted the airport’s public check-in area.

After the Manchester attack, Grande suspended her European tour until June 7, canceling two planned concerts in London. Fears about concert-goers’ safety also threaten to undermine the workings of the music business. As album sales have declined with the advent of internet streaming, artists rely heavily on tours to make up the revenue. The ISIS campaign against so-called “soft targets”—public gathering places—has put fans and artists in a tough spot with few clear answers. —L.L.

Flickr/Photo by Mater Dei Latin Mass Parish Flickr/Photo by Mater Dei Latin Mass Parish Rev. Gerard Saguto

Music men

A collection of Gregorian chants by a group of Catholic priests in Nebraska topped the Billboard classical charts this week. The members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, for whom chanting pre-Vatican II liturgy is just part of the daily routine, recorded the album after four years of prodding by a record label focused on sacred music. “We just wanted to put something out there to get people to think more about eternity, God, and our life in reference to those things, and it seems we’ve been blessed with this popularity, which none of us expected or were even trying to achieve,” said the Rev. Gerard Saguto, the order’s North American Superior. —L.L.

A nasty tone

Late-night host Stephen Colbert made just about everyone mad with an off-color joke about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 1. According to Politico, the Federal Communications Commission received more than 5,700 complaints about the joke. Those offended said the slur was liberal propaganda, disrespectful to the president, too vulgar for TV, and anti-gay hate speech. Colbert’s show airs during the FCC’s “safe harbor” hours, so there’s little chance the agency will punish the host for his unpopular remarks. —L.L.

Wooden safari

A team of 20 sculptors in Burma have carved a 47.8-foot-long lion from a massive tree trunk. The sculpture might become certified as the longest wood carving in the world, unseating an intricate village scene finished by a Chinese artist in 2013. The lion is on display in the Fortune Plaza Times Square in Wuhan, China. —L.L.

Counterculture

Each week, The World and Everything in It features a discussion of cultural news between Executive Producer Nick Eicher and John Stonestreet, president of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. On today’s “Culture Friday,” Stonestreet answers questions about how Christians should engage secular culture from college-age students who are participating in World Journalism Institute. —L.L.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

Read more from this writer

Comments

  • Laneygirl's picture
    Laneygirl
    Posted: Fri, 05/26/2017 04:00 pm

    Wait for it.... ! This time (only) I am with ABC ( I know, Right???) for cancelling "Last Man Standing". The show was fantastic for most of its run- all the political stuff was hilarious and went both ways because the wife and one daughter were lefties and the son-in-law a Canadian (which displayed its own humorous connotations). However, this past season was boring and bordered on the offensive (the "church" episode). The 3 girls are all grown up now and the show didn't know where to take that thread.

    Watch the reruns. They still draw out-loud laughs from my husband and me, even after multiple viewings.

  • Janet B
    Posted: Mon, 05/29/2017 01:45 pm

    Where can I get a copy of the Gregorian chants album?

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Tue, 05/30/2017 10:37 am

    The album is available from Amazon and iTunes.

ADVERTISEMENT