How ‘Last Man Standing’ Bought Permission to Use Tim Taylor Character

Fox’s “Last Male Standing” is likely significant in its closing season, with an episode showcasing Tim Allen in his primary role of Mike Baxter and reprising Tim “The Instrument Man” Taylor, the iconic character he performed on ABC’s “Home Improvement” for eight seasons from 1991-1999.

The little bit will occur in the 2nd episode of “Last Person Standing’s” future ninth year, when Vanessa hires a house advancement repairman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mike, who is struggling with an thought for his Out of doors Gentleman 10th Anniversary vlog. And the concept for this epic 50 %-hour, which airs Jan. 7 on Fox, came about because the broadcast network needed to kick off the sitcom’s closing period with anything flashy.

“We had already broken the 1st seven episodes and our intention was to have the ‘Time Flies’ [flash-forward] be the initial episode. And Fox arrived to us and claimed, ‘We’d enjoy it if you could appear up with some big promotable celebration.’ And I constantly despise that, specifically on this present, in which we tell smaller tales about family members interaction,” “Last Man Standing” showrunner Kevin Abbott informed TheWrap. “Plus, it is hard to appear up with some substantial promotable party that comes about in our minor entire world.”

Abbott continued, “And so as I was bitching and moaning about it, my writers ended up basically contemplating about it. And Jon Haller arrived again and stated he’d been contemplating about stunt casting and said, ‘You know, we’ve experienced nearly all the names from “Home Improvement” on the clearly show and the 1 we seriously haven’t experienced is Tim Taylor.’ And I went, ‘That is just brilliant. That is good.’”

Abbott calls the concept a person of individuals kinds “where it is like, how did we not consider of this right before?”

“It seems so noticeable, so good and but we did not imagine of it prior to. So we all received quite psyched about it,” he said, incorporating, that he “felt very good that we’d be able to land the actor.”

And, of course, they did, but Allen was really specific about how he desired his beloved “Home Improvement” character to appear on “Last Male Standing.”

“So the 1st hurdle you have to leap is to get Tim to indication off on it. I want to make confident that he wished to perform it — which he did, he entirely embraced the notion, with the proviso that we would honor that character, not make fun of him or anything, which we would by no means do,” Abbott reported. “I genuinely appreciated ‘Home Improvement’ and Matt Williams and David McFadzean and Carmen Finestra, who designed ‘Home Enhancement,’ have been really type and generous in making it possible for us to use the character and specified iconic symbols from the exhibit and bits. So we were being likely to bend over backward to not give them any rationale to regret allowing us to do that.”

However Abbott claims his “first instinct” was to go adverse (Tim Taylor’s “gotten divorced and he’s down on his luck and he’s now just a handyman”), he “got disabused of that notion very quickly.”

“I appreciate operating with Tim, so I say that kiddingly mainly because it is a really collaborative system,” he claimed. “We stored going at it and speaking about it and talking about it until finally we acquired to a spot wherever we imagined this was funny and attention-grabbing. Tim was telling me it actually form of impacted him due to the fact what that episode is about in terms of concern of shifting on — and concern that you are going to be a lot less-than and you’re going to be shedding — and when you are in a location wherever you enjoy some thing, transferring previous it is challenging. And we’re in our ultimate year, so a lot of this resonated with Tim. And it was truly fantastic. It was a pleasurable episode to do.”

Just after getting the blessings of the “Home Improvement” creators and Allen, the “Last Male Standing” group nevertheless experienced to wait it out to see if Fox would be able to get authorization from Disney (the firm that retains the legal rights to “Home Improvement”) to use the Tim Taylor character for the episode, which is aptly titled “Dual Time.”

“It took a though. There are bigger lawful hurdles than you would believe in all of that. It was the working day prior to the table study that I received permission to really go ahead with the episode. And that was only mainly because I threatened, ‘I’m examining it in any case.’ So they ultimately agreed to it,” Abbott mentioned, laughing.

Abbott and his writers know the ins and outs of Mike Baxter heading into the ninth year of “Last Male Standing,” which aired its first six seasons on ABC before it was canceled and then revived at Fox, but they obviously weren’t familiar with creating Allen’s profession-earning job.

“Tim gave me just one of the box sets of ‘Home Improvement’ so I viewed a bunch of individuals to remind myself what the character was like and every little thing,” Abbott reported. “And they are diverse, so making an attempt to make guaranteed that we differentiate the people was complicated. And Tim needed to make certain that we ended up telling a story about Tim Taylor as very well. That we weren’t just bringing in any individual to have in the instant and then go on, that there experienced to be a back again tale and a fact to that character as effectively. And it took a whole lot of discussions to land in which we landed on all the things, simply because he wished to make particular that we did it appropriate. That it sounded true to him that that’s what took place to Tim Taylor.”

So what did happen to Tim Taylor — who, very last we observed on the “Home Improvement” sequence finale, was dwelling in Detroit, Michigan with his loved ones — and how did he make his way around to Colorado for this episode of “Last Person Standing”?

“I can’t don’t forget how significantly stayed in soon after the edits, but Tim Taylor now operates for Binford Instruments,” Abbott claimed. “He’s a higher muckety-muck in that organization and he travels around executing excellent management at the a variety of Binford Tools. You may perhaps have seen their merchants on the corners [in ‘Last Man Standing’]. But Binford has franchised out a area now that has quite a few locations and he was in city checking out the Denver retailer and examining them out. And he’d been told by a large amount of individuals that there is a guy that does this vlog known as ‘Outdoor Man’ that he appears exactly like. So he experienced to go see this person, he experienced to go fulfill this dude. And boy, they do seem alike.”

“Last Man Standing” airs its ninth and final period premiere this Sunday right before transferring to its regular Thursday time-slot following week. With a good chunk of the year presently broken, Abbott knows how he wishes to wrap items up — but is still in the system of crafting his ending.

“I do have an concept what the sequence finale is and I can convey to you it’s Mike’s journey this year. A lot of occasions over the sequence we’ve experienced Mike as a big drive in other people’s journeys, that Mike is type of this frequent. This calendar year, it’s about Mike Baxter and the pandemic has built him reassess things, reassessing in which he would like his daily life to go transferring forward and what does he do about ‘Outdoor Person.’ I’m currently fiddling around with it, since things do modify as we go forward, but I believe it is heading to give the audience a perception of closure and a sense of hope.”

Time 9 of “Last Man Standing” will premiere Sunday, Jan. 3 at 9:30/8:30c on Fox. The clearly show will make its time-period premiere at 9:30/10:30c on Thursday, Jan. 7.