Last Man Standing is not going to call President Donald Trump by his name anymore going forward, fearing the divisive effect he has on people.
Last Man Standing returned to the air last week with its first new episode in a year. Unlike its previous seasons on ABC, the new incarnation did not reference the president in any specific ways. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunner Kevin Abbot explained that that was an intentional choice. Abbott declined to answer a question about how he would feel if the president endorsed his show, as he did with Roseanne back in the spring.
"I’m gonna let that one go," he said, reportedly laughing. "I’ll pass on that one."
When the interviewer pressed, he said that he didn't "have to answer to that." He added that "we" — presumably meaning the producers or others who work on the show — are "not going to say his name." To clarify, the interviewer asked if Last Man Standing would refrain from using the president's name this season, and Abbott explained why.
"Yeah. We want to appeal to everybody and that’s a polarizing thing," he said. "We want to talk about things but we don’t want to be a trigger that immediately thrills or turns off people. The news cycle changes so rapidly I don’t think we’re going to deal with anything immediately topical because by the time we air it will no longer be pertinent."
Abbott confirmed that the show would still be topical and political in its own way, but it would not agonize over the day to day politics that happen on a much faster schedule than TV production does.
"We’ll deal with the larger issues. We want to take a more universal tone and unite rather than divide in these times," he explained. "We rather show people on either side of the political spectrum arguing with each other but remaining family."
Last Man Standing follows a conservative small business owner, Mike Baxter (Tim Allen), who is the only man in a predominately female family. His passion for outdoor sports, stereotypically macho activities and Republican politics frequently butts up against his wife and daughters' more left-leaning views and feminine demeanor. While it may avoid specific mention of the president, this season is expected to be heated as it tackles issues like gun control in upcoming episodes.
Last Man Standing airs every Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.