Last week, the uber-liberal ABC network abruptly canceled its Tim Allen sitcom “Last Man Standing,” which had become a hit with conservative, middle America viewers. “Last Man Standing” was ABC’s second highest rated comedy and its third highest rated scripted program. The show had performed well in the ratings for six seasons, consistently winning its time slot in the target demo, and reliably anchoring its Friday night programming schedule. Moreover, as the Daily Wire reported, it was a success in syndication. By canceling it, ABC has not only forfeited the ad revenue it pulls in on Friday nights, but it also punted on the opportunity to syndicate more episodes that could each reap massive financial rewards for years to come.
ABC claims it made this surprising move because they couldn’t afford to pay Tim Allen’s salary. But they just gave raises to all six of the main characters on the gay friendly “Modern Family,” so that excuse seems dubious. The more likely explanation is what most people have theorized: ABC axed it for ideological reasons.
“Last Man Standing” was arguably the only sitcom on TV that appealed to blue collar America, as it revolved around a Christian family man struggling to cope with life in our increasingly feminized, PC culture. The main character, who often cracked jokes at the expense of various liberal sacred cows, was in many ways a reflection of the actor who portrayed him. In fact, Tim Allen just recently got himself into hot water when he admitted to attending Donald Trump’s inauguration. In that interview, he complained that conservatives in Hollywood have to keep quiet or else face repercussions. A few months later, his show was canceled. Coincidence? Yeah, sure.
No surprise here. ABC, owned by the left wing Disney, run by the left wing Clinton booster Bob Iger, has plunged ever deeper into the leftist fringe over the past several years. They’ve repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to forgo profit for the sake of promoting a far left agenda. Back in February, for instance, they aired a lengthy ode to gay rights, which proceeded to flop spectacularly. They must have known it would fail in the ratings because these kinds of overtly gay shows always do, yet they aired it anyway. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone thought “The Real O’Neals” — a blatantly anti-Catholic show about a gay kid and his family of repressed Catholic stereotypes — would be a ratings smash, and certainly it wasn’t, but they put it on the air for two seasons anyway. I don’t think it was necessarily a great business decision when ABC’s “Scandal” decided to center its Christmas episode around its protagonist having an abortion while “Silent Night” played in the background, but they did it anyway. I doubt anyone at ABC ever seriously imagined that a show like “Good Christian Bitches” would appeal to the average American family looking for entertainment in prime time, but they tried to force it down our throats anyway.
ABC has done all of these things, including canceling Tim Allen’s show, for the same reason that their sister network ESPN has decided to ostracize its own core audience by converting its sports analysts into liberal televangelists. That reason is very simple: If you’re a conservative Christian, Hollywood hates you. They would rather lose money than cater to an audience they truly consider to be subhuman. There is no other way to explain why they push out the kind of trash that’s sure to alienate millions of potential viewers, while mostly refusing to produce content that would motivate those same viewers to eagerly empty their wallets. When it comes down to it, they don’t want your money. They despise you. They don’t want to think that the fruits of their labor are bringing a smile to the toothless faces of white trash Bible-thumping bigots, which is how they imagine all of us.
Every once in a while, a show or movie with a more conservative appeal will slip through the cracks, but, even if it’s a certified success, Hollywood will treat it like a mistake that needs to be corrected. “Last Man Standing” is far from the only example of this. Think of that Bible miniseries on the History Channel a few years ago. It was a ratings bonanza, making History Channel the top cable network on television for the duration of its run, but, noticeably, it didn’t lead to a rash of Bible shows all over the place. You’d think TV executives would notice its wide appeal and proceed to put Scriptural dramas on every channel. You’d think respectful, theologically accurate shows about Jesus or Moses or King David would become as common as police procedurals and reality competitions, given what a surefire success they would be. But that’s not how things played out. Actually, Hollywood went the opposite way. Next thing you know, there was a show on Fox explicitly glorifying Satan, and a show on AMC about a demon possess preacher on a mission to assassinate God, and a show on HBO about a philandering pope who preaches about the wonders of masturbation and abortion. Hollywood said, “Oh you want stuff based on the Bible? Here, have this instead, you drooling troglodytes. Now go die in a fire.” They really hate us. I mean, they really, really hate us.
Of course, the best example of this phenomenon is “The Passion of the Christ.” The film was a beautiful work of art and a blockbuster hit (how often do those two things go hand-in-hand?), yet it was trashed by critics and everyone involved in its production was blacklisted by Hollywood. Jim Caviezel, who so compellingly portrayed Jesus, was rewarded for his masterful performance in one of the most successful movies of the 21st century by estrangement from the film industry. He struggled to find more work in movies, even as other actors — say, Will Smith — continue getting starring roles despite the fact that their films are almost always duds. But Will Smith is safe because he’s a nutty Scientologist who produces typical Hollywood tripe. Caviezel, on the other hand, is a devout Christian who committed the sin of starring in a movie about Jesus. Even worse, it was a good movie about Jesus. It was the kind of movie about Jesus that harnesses the power of the medium and stirs the soul, bringing the viewer closer to God. Hollywood simply can’t take that sitting down.
Ultimately, I think that was what really destroyed “Last Man Standing.” It wasn’t just a conservative comedy — it was a successful conservative comedy that effectively mocked liberalism. It wasn’t art on the level of “The Passion,” but it was good at doing what it tried to do. Hollywood obviously knows what a potent weapon television can be in the culture war, and they aren’t about to let conservatives hijack it and turn it against them. They’d rather snub half the country and preclude us from ever watching their shows or going to their films than see that happen. They really would rather lose a ton of money than make us happy. And if that’s what they want, I think it’s about time we oblige them.