LISTEN TO TLR’S LATEST PODCAST:
By Paul Meekin
“Last Man Standing” is reportedly on ABC’s chopping block. The three camera sitcom focuses on a conservative business owner in a post-modern world, as he contends with new-age liberalism, politically correct politics, and the universal nature of being middle-aged as the whole wide world moves away from everything you thought to be true.
Reportedly hitting a ratings high in its sixth season (perhaps in correlation to the rise of President Donald Trump) it’s odd such a successful…and timely show would find itself on the chopping block. The show averages between 5-6 million viewers an episode, which is about on par with “Law and Order: SVU,” the current season of “Modern Family,” a little under “Game of Thrones,” and six times higher than Lena Dunham’s recently ended ‘Girls’.
But ratings can be misleading because it depends on who is watching. Demographics are important, especially in an age where terrestrial television ratings are an increasingly small part of a show’s revenue stream. A show like “Game of Thrones,” or even “Girls,” appeals to young people who are prone to buy the episode on iTunes, subscribe to HBO GO, and are generally more likely to engage with the show on a variety of platforms. Considering “Last Man Standing’s” target demo, my ageist postulation is that kind groundswell doesn’t exist for a show not at all targeted toward young folks.
There’s also the fact Tim Allen commands a hefty price-tag and as shows go on they become more expensive – though rumor has it the show has been a success in syndication, which is where the ‘real’ money is when it comes to network television.
…And the liberal arts education in me would be remiss if I didn’t point out I had to scroll through like 9 white people to get to the singular black actor on the show.
Regardless, there is a silver lining here; Tim Allen is (somewhat) relevant again, and judging by his appearance on Kimmel, isn’t afraid to speak his mind and voice unpopular opinions with a dose of humor and humility, which is how we come together as a society.
Allen was a stand-up comic first, actor second. These six years of his life have probably provided ammunition for a comedy special for the ages – one steeped in the insanity of Hollywood, television, public opinion, and conservative thinking.
So while Last Man Standing may be falling with style, it looks like Tim Allen himself is prone to soar.