Editor's Note: The following has been adapted with the author's permission from its original publication on Carolina Culture Warrior. To be fully transparent, the author also owns shares in ABC (as previously disclosed).
You may remember that, one year ago, ABC made the embarrassing business decision to cancel the Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, which focused on a conservative man who works for an outdoor sporting goods retailer and lives with his liberal wife and three daughters (two of which are equally liberal) in their Colorado home.
The reason for this controversial decision — a dispute over money is not an uncommon problem in the entertainment industry, but fans saw something far deeper afoot and, all told, many saw that it exposed a double standard. Here’s what this author wrote at the time:
In 2015, the network’s long-running drama Scandal featured the main protagonist getting an abortion to the tune of Silent Night. It’s still airing. Earlier this year, a so-called “comedy” on ABC called Black-ish told viewers that “a vote for Trump is a vote for racism.” Hysterical. And using an entire episode of Grey’s Anatomy to smear anybody who supports the Second Amendment won’t get you into any trouble either.
There were also petitions to revive the show and, alas, those cries have finally been heard. Fox has announced that the sitcom will be revived for a seventh season this coming fall, with the entire cast returning. Below is the trailer, hoping to excite fans waiting for their favorite characters to return:
The fact that Fox is even reviving the show in the first place is good news for Middle America.
For several years, content creators working in Hollywood, and especially the “big three” networks (and the Fox broadcast network itself to some extent) thought they could win an audience with taboo and “edgy” fare such as explicit sex, wishing death to Republicans, and on-camera abortions — combined a feeling of superiority on screen and off.
These combined factors have made audiences feel left out, but the good news is that the rest of the country is being catered to by certain people in show business again.
When the revival of the classic 80’s/90’s sitcom Roseanne premiered to over 18 million viewers, it proved that despite most of the entertainment industry openly leaning left, there was still room for a broadcast TV show catered to conservative or middle-of-the-road people (but more specifically the working class) in flyover country.
And as it turns out, Last Man Standing was also one of these shows. Odds are that when it returns in the fall, it will no-doubt continue to be a great alternative.
All the while, it’s worth asking what happened to shows like the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts, the Fox dramedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the two ABC dramas Quantico and Designated Survivor, and the Catholic-bashing NBC teen series Rise? They all ended up getting cancelled due to low ratings (although Brooklyn Nine-Nine ended up with NBC). For all the promotional efforts each of these network put into their shows, it certainly didn’t pan out. How embarrassing!
The truth is most of the people who make these shows don’t get it. They have no knowledge of what the average American can relate to, and have disdain — even contempt — for what they do know. In the case of Last Man Standing, they don’t like outdoorsmen or intact, nuclear families. They lecture about pet issues such as gun control and abortion, and want to force the rest of the country to accept these things.
Even regardless of that, more people are tuning into streaming services rather than linear TV channels, and established TV brands — especially those aimed at kids — are feeling the impact. So why are these established businesses doubling down on alienating their audience by putting out explicit programming doubling as propaganda? In the case of the former, there are parents and children watching TV too, you know.
No matter what, the return of Last Man Standing is a victory for consumers and anyone looking for true diversity in primetime network content. And, most of all, the return of Mike Baxter is certain to trigger more than a few liberals. And who doesn’t love that?