ABC’s cancellation of “Last Man Standing” was among the more surprising bits of news in the week leading up to the network announcing its fall schedule. The Tim Allen comedy was a consistent performer in the ratings, regularly winning its Friday time period this season.
It was also, however, an increasingly expensive show and one that ABC had no ownership stake in — it’s produced by 20th Century Fox TV. That, along with some scheduling decisions the network made for 2017-18, are among the things that led to the show’s end.
“Look, sadly a large part of this job is managing failure. We have to make tough calls and cancel shows that we’d otherwise love to stay on the air. That’s the job,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey told reporters Tuesday.
“I canceled ‘Last Man Standing’ for the same business and scheduling 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 was where we landed.”
ABC decided to shake up its Friday schedule for next season, moving “Once Upon a Time” from Sunday nights into the Friday lead-off spot previously occupied by “Last Man Standing” and slotting “Inhumans” (and later in the season, “Agents of SHIELD”) at 9 p.m. With the Tuesday and Wednesday comedy blocks remaining largely intact (with a couple of tweaks and one new show launching), “Last Man Standing” was left without a spot.