ABC discovered this simple truth Wednesday morning when it learned that around 6.5 million people had caught Tuesday night’s 8:30 p.m. repeat episode of Allen’s new comedy series “Last Man Standing.”
One week earlier, the second, and, if there’s a god in heaven, last, episode of guys-in-drag comedy “Work It,” had logged 4.9 million viewers.
And, because a rising tide lifts all sitcoms, an original episode of Allen’s sitcom at 8 p.m. also enjoyed a bigger audience than had an an original episode last week in the same spot, only paired with “Work It.”
Late last week – around four days after ABC programming chief Paul Lee said the ratings for the unveiling of “Work It” were not big enough to be “perfect for a pickup,” and he planned to see where the show “goes over the next few weeks” — he yanked it from his schedule.
This caused the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Human Rights Campaign to break into a happy dance.
In a full-page ad in Variety last month, the two organizations said, “by encouraging the audience to laugh at the characters’ attempts at womanhood, the show gives license to similar treatment of transgender women.”
Speaking to TV critics hours before last week’s second and, if all goes well, final in-season broadcast of “Work It,” Lee said he thought there was room in primetime for “a very, very, very, very silly show,” and that he “didn’t really get” the outrage over the sitcom, noting, “I love ‘Tootsie’.”
“Tootsie,” in case you missed it, is the hit 1982 Sydney Pollack flick that starred Dustin Hoffman as an unemployed, known-to-be-difficult actor who auditions for an open female role on a soap opera and lands the gig.
“Work It,” on the other hand, was about two unemployed guys who “learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a ‘man-cession’ and their skills aren’t in high demand,” as described by ABC. When one of the guys learns a pharmaceutical company is hiring only female sales reps, he goes to the interview dressed up like a chick and gets hired.
In 1998, the United States Library of Congress decided “Tootsie” was “culturally significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.
“Work It,” on the other hand, is gone.