Was ABC Sitcom Cancelled Over Gun Content?

Jonathan Adams as Chuck Larabee and Tim Allen as Mike Baxter on ABC's *Last Man Standing*.
Jonathan Adams as Chuck Larabee and Tim Allen as Mike Baxter on ABC's Last Man Standing.web photo

You may have read about a recent uproar over the cancellation of Tim Allen's conservative-leaning ABC comedy Last Man Standing, despite its good ratings, leading some to question if the decision was a political one.

Last week, the network 86’d the top-rated Friday night series that features Allen as Mike Baxter, a family man and marketing executive for a fictional BassPro/Cabela’s type sporting goods chain store called Outdoor Man.

Now, the National Shooting Sports Foundation has spoken out about the show's cancellation, according to this story from guns.com.

"Outdoor Man was a Hollywood set version of a sporting goods store, of course, but it did have a gun counter and there was a gun cabinet in the Baxter household. There were plenty of references to hunting," the NSSF said Wednesday in the story. "Last Man Standing also was a family-oriented show with life lessons every week delivered through plot lines involving his wife, three daughters, two sons in law and a neighbor. In many ways, the show was an island of mainstream values in a sea of network political correctness and pandering."

The story says the announcement of the show's cancellation spawned widespread speculation the network dumped Allen for his right-wing views and overt support for President Donald Trump, on and off camera. The network has denied such rumors.

"What people saw was a loving family with a main character and supporting cast members employed in our industry," the NSSF said in the story of the show's enduring popularity. "Guns were discussed for their use in hunting and the shooting sports and, in at least one episode, for self-defense."

Allen with the guys from Duck Dynasty during a special guest appearance on the show.
Allen with the guys from Duck Dynasty during a special guest appearance on the show.web photo

Deadline.com reported that, after six seasons, the show rates as ABC's third most watched scripted series overall, just behind Grey's Anatomy and Modern Family.

According to this story from avclub.com, ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said the decision to axe Last Man was part of a broader shift away from comedies in Friday-night time slots in favor of the fantastical dramas Once Upon A Time and Marvel's Inhumans.

"We make tough calls and cancel shows that we otherwise would have loved to stay on the air. That's the job," said ABC Entertainment President Channing Dungey said in a phone call with reporters Tuesday, according to CNN. "But 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.'"

The news came as a shock to Allen, and he said as much on Twitter after the announcement, writing, "Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years."

“We’re sure that we speak for many of our NSSF members in saying are sorry to see this series end,” NSSF said. “If it existed in the real world, Outdoor Man would be a retailer member and Mike Baxter would attend the SHOT Show.”