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

Pamela G. Knowles

Fox’s “Last Gentleman Standing” is heading massive in its final year, with an episode featuring Tim Allen in his top job of Mike Baxter and reprising Tim “The Software Man” Taylor, the iconic character he played on ABC’s “Home Improvement” for 8 seasons from 1991-1999.

The bit will appear in the 2nd episode of “Last Person Standing’s” future ninth season, when Vanessa hires a property advancement repairman who bears an uncanny resemblance to Mike, who is having difficulties with an idea for his Outdoor Man 10th Anniversary vlog. And the strategy for this epic 50 percent-hour, which airs Jan. 7 on Fox, came about for the reason that the broadcast community wanted to kick off the sitcom’s closing period with some thing flashy.

“We had currently damaged the to start with 7 episodes and our intention was to have the ‘Time Flies’ [flash-forward] be the first episode. And Fox came to us and said, ‘We’d like it if you could come up with some huge promotable event.’ And I always loathe that, primarily on this present, the place we explain to smaller tales about household interaction,” “Last Gentleman Standing” showrunner Kevin Abbott explained to TheWrap. “Plus, it is tough to arrive up with some substantial promotable event that transpires in our tiny world.”

Abbott continued, “And so as I was bitching and moaning about it, my writers were being truly thinking about it. And Jon Haller came back and said he’d been pondering about stunt casting and stated, ‘You know, we’ve had practically all the names from “Home Improvement” on the present and the just one we actually have not experienced is Tim Taylor.’ And I went, ‘That is just good. That is brilliant.’”

Abbott calls the thought one particular of all those types “where it’s like, how did we not assume of this prior to?”

“It appears so apparent, so excellent and but we did not assume of it just before. So we all obtained very fired up about it,” he explained, including, that he “felt fantastic that we’d be ready to land the actor.”

And, of course, they did, but Allen was very unique about how he preferred his beloved “Home Improvement” character to show up on “Last Man Standing.”

“So the initial hurdle you have to jump is to get Tim to sign off on it. I want to make absolutely sure that he preferred to play it — which he did, he entirely embraced the strategy, with the proviso that we would honor that character, not make enjoyment of him or anything, which we would in no way do,” Abbott claimed. “I really preferred ‘Home Improvement’ and Matt Williams and David McFadzean and Carmen Finestra, who developed ‘Home Improvement,’ were seriously kind and generous in making it possible for us to use the character and specified iconic symbols from the present and bits. So we were being likely to bend more than backward to not give them any explanation to regret allowing us to do that.”

Although Abbott states his “first instinct” was to go detrimental (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 really speedily.”

“I appreciate working with Tim, so I say that kiddingly since it’s a extremely collaborative system,” he claimed. “We kept heading at it and conversing about it and talking about it until finally we acquired to a spot where by we believed this was humorous and appealing. Tim was telling me it genuinely variety of affected him simply because what that episode is about in terms of concern of transferring on — and fear that you are likely to be less-than and you are likely to be losing — and when you are in a location the place you love anything, transferring past it is challenging. And we’re in our ultimate year, so a whole lot of this resonated with Tim. And it was really excellent. It was a fun episode to do.”

Following getting the blessings of the “Home Improvement” creators and Allen, the “Last Man Standing” group nonetheless experienced to hold out it out to see if Fox would be able to get authorization from Disney (the organization 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 although. There are more substantial lawful hurdles than you would feel in all of that. It was the working day prior to the table examine that I got permission to actually go forward with the episode. And that was only since I threatened, ‘I’m studying it anyway.’ So they ultimately agreed to it,” Abbott reported, laughing.

Abbott and his writers know the ins and outs of Mike Baxter likely into the ninth time of “Last Male Standing,” which aired its initially 6 seasons on ABC prior to it was canceled and then revived at Fox, but they definitely weren’t acquainted with producing Allen’s vocation-generating position.

“Tim gave me a single of the box sets of ‘Home Improvement’ so I watched a bunch of all those to remind myself what the character was like and everything,” Abbott stated. “And they’re different, so striving to make absolutely sure that we differentiate the characters was hard. And Tim needed to make sure that we were telling a tale about Tim Taylor as very well. That we weren’t just bringing in somebody to have in the second and then shift on, that there had to be a again tale and a actuality to that character as perfectly. And it took a large amount of discussions to land the place we landed on everything, simply because he preferred to make selected that we did it right. That it sounded genuine to him that which is what transpired to Tim Taylor.”

So what did occur to Tim Taylor — who, past we observed on the “Home Improvement” sequence finale, was residing in Detroit, Michigan with his household — and how did he make his way in excess of to Colorado for this episode of “Last Man Standing”?

“I just cannot recall how considerably stayed in right after the edits, but Tim Taylor now will work for Binford Equipment,” Abbott said. “He’s a large muckety-muck in that company and he travels all-around undertaking quality manage at the different Binford Tools. You may perhaps have seen their stores on the corners [in ‘Last Man Standing’]. But Binford has franchised out a position now that has quite a few areas and he was in city going to the Denver keep and checking them out. And he’d been explained to by a large amount of people today that there is a male that does this vlog identified as ‘Outdoor Man’ that he looks exactly like. So he experienced to go see this dude, he had to go meet this person. And boy, they do glance alike.”

“Last Male Standing” airs its ninth and ultimate period premiere this Sunday right before transferring to its common Thursday time-slot future week. With a great chunk of the time previously broken, Abbott understands how he desires to wrap matters up — but is nevertheless in the course of action of crafting his ending.

“I do have an thought what the series finale is and I can tell you it’s Mike’s journey this calendar year. A lot of situations about the series we have had Mike as a massive power in other people’s journeys, that Mike is kind of this constant. This yr, it’s about Mike Baxter and the pandemic has produced him reassess items, reassessing wherever he needs his life to go shifting ahead and what does he do about ‘Outdoor Gentleman.’ I’m currently fiddling all around with it, due to the fact items do modify as we go forward, but I imagine it is going to give the viewers a perception of closure and a perception of hope.”

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

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