Tim Allen And Thomas Gibson: The Faces That Launch Network Boycotts [Opinion]

Tim Allen and Thomas Gibson are beloved veteran actors, as well as strong male role models. Sadly, Thomas Gibson was fired from CBS’s Criminal Minds. Now Tim Allen’s show Last Man Standing has been canceled by ABC, who claimed ratings were the issue that led to the cancellation.

Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing, like Criminal Minds with Thomas Gibson, had great ratings, especially in a declining market for network TV. Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing ranked third for total viewers on ABC this year according to TV Series Finale, with 6.407 million total viewers. Only ABC’s Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy attracted more viewers for the network than Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing.

Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing has been canceled, and even TV Guide is questioning the wisdom of ABC’s decision and asking the same questions as Tim Allen supporters.

“The supporters do have a reason to wonder about the cancellation. Last Man Standing may not have been part of Internet buzz, but it was a reliable performer on the network, especially for airing on Friday nights.”

Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing was performing well according to TV Guide, who also noted that Last Man Standing was ABC’s No. 3 show for overall viewers.

“[Last Man Standing] was ABC’s third-most-watched series in terms of overall audience.”

Tim Allen’s’ fans threaten to join Thomas Gibson fans in boycotting ABC. Thomas Gibson fans are already boycotting both ABC and CBS since ABC and CBS consider Criminal Minds a joint venture. Some groups are protesting the overall flavor of network programming by boycotting several major networks.

Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing was a bit lower on the coveted 18-49 age demographic with 1.15 million younger viewers. Still, Tim Allen’s show ranked 12 out of 25 ABC shows for the younger demographic and several shows with fewer young viewers were renewed. Angry Tim Allen fans question ABC’s claims that this is about ratings.

Thomas Gibson of Criminal Minds
Thomas Gibson of Criminal Minds [Image by Jesse Grant/Getty Images]

Thomas Gibson and Shemar Moore both left Criminal Minds at about the same time, at least in terms of episodes. Shemar left at the end of Season 11 to pursue other opportunities. Thomas Gibson was terminated while filming Episode 2 of Season 12 of Criminal Minds. The impact on Criminal Minds‘ overall ratings was drastic with a loss of 17.15 percent of viewers for the season.

Tim Allen and Thomas Gibson fans want to see their favorite shows with their favorite stars. They are willing to protest, boycott, and petition until these shows are restored. Why can’t networks just give the previously loyal fans of Criminal Minds and Last Man Standing what they want?

Thomas Gibson supporters at #NoHotchNoWatch boycotted Criminal Minds and then expanded their boycott to include ABC and CBS because they no longer enjoy Criminal Minds without Thomas Gibson. Also, they resent the way Thomas Gibson was treated, and the handling of Gibson’s termination in the press.

Tim Allen and Thomas Gibson have the support of millions of viewers, and viewers represent advertising dollars in a very tight market. So how can CBS and ABC walk away from all that money and status? How can ABC take off a show that attracts over 6.4 million viewers each week, when their top ranking show, Grey’s Anatomy, only gets 7.8 million viewers, then say their decision was about ratings?

Tim Allen of Last Man Standing
Tim Allen of Last Man Standing [Image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP images]

Since Thomas Gibson departed Criminal Minds, the show went from 10.31 million viewers in 2015 to 7.466 in 2017, according to TV Series Finale. Admittedly though, network television ratings are suffering across the board, and this impacts nearly all shows, but Criminal Minds losses cut deeper than that. Why do CBS and ABC continue to ignore the demands of formerly avid fans?

Thomas Gibson fans and Tim Allen fans are living proof that the loss of TV ratings may reflect the failure of major networks to give viewers what they want. Viewers still believe they should have a voice in what they watch. Are CBS and ABC stubbornly sticking with their own ideas of what people want to see, in the face of evidence to the contrary? Could they be completely wrong about what attracts the most viewers? Are they the ones with outmoded ideas?

There are several network boycotts going on right now, and these are only two of those, but generally, for every boycott of a product, there are millions of dissatisfied customers who just don’t want to buy the product anymore after seeing what it does. Is the decline in network TV viewership reflective of a generally dissatisfied audience?


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Tim Allen fans are planning a boycott and Thomas Gibson fans continue and expand their boycott. Other groups are dissatisfied with both network programming and even the news. Could it be that networks have lost touch with the audience and no longer know what people want to see? Perhaps they don’t care. Maybe they will be displaced by newer, hungrier networks eventually.

With Tim Allen and Thomas Gibson fans leading the way, for the first time in history, former TV viewers may have developed the willpower to simply turn off major network television.

[Featured Image by Matt Winkelmeyer and Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]