Tim Allen is famous for being a rare Hollywood conservative… but don’t expect his Last Man Standing character Mike Baxter to plant a Trump 2020 sign on the lawn.
“I think the guy is kind of a centrist,” Allen — the star of Fox’s sitcom revival, debuting this fall — told reporters at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Thursday. “This guy’s a practical guy… if it’s helping his business, I think he’s probably pro-Trump. [But] he probably doesn’t defend him.”
In fact, Allen reveals that he and the Last Man writing staff were actually disappointed when Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in the 2016 election… because they had so much material saved up. “We had a bank of stuff” already written assuming that Clinton would win, Allen says — “pantsuit stuff,” as he puts it. But he emphasizes that the show won’t play political favorites: “We want both sides to think it’s funny.”
“I don’t think we’re going to comment specifically on Donald Trump,” showrunner Kevin Abbott added. While he concedes Mike Baxter is “a conservative Republican,” he says Trump’s administration and policies won’t be a topic of conversation on the show: “I don’t think we’re going to address it one way or the other.”
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Roseanne enjoyed a ratings boom when it returned to ABC this spring — and also had an outspoken conservative star — but Abbott drew a distinct line between that show and Last Man Standing: “The Roseanne reboot handled a lot of topical issues… we don’t really do issues of the week. We consider ourselves a family show with a traditional character in the center of it.”
Earlier in the day, Fox co-chairman and CEO Gary Newman said Allen’s personal politics wouldn’t affect his Last Man Standing character: “The producers’ plans are simply not to address whether or not he might be a Trump supporter… That could change during the season, but there are no plans at this time… Clearly he’s a character with a conservative viewpoint.”
Last Man Standing started out on ABC, ending a six-season run there last year. At the time, Allen blamed the cancellation on Mike’s politics (and his own), saying “there’s nothing more dangerous… than a funny, likable conservative.” Fox swooped in to revive the show for a seventh season in May.