Home Improvement was one of the greatest shows of our generation, giving us Jonathan Taylor Thomas in his prime, and Tim Allen before we knew he was a cocaine trafficker.
1. The Right Fit
Disney originally wanted Allen to take the leads in Turner and Hooch and Dead Poet's Society, but he turned them down to get his own show.
"They offered me two sitcoms: 'Turner & Hooch' or 'Dead Poets Society' in the Tom Hanks role or the Robin Williams role," Allen said. "And I thought they got the wrong guy. I told them, 'I'm the one you saw on stage doing the men thing, grunting like a pig. Without being disrespectful, wouldn't that seem like an odd idea?'"
2. Stop! It's...
Hammer Time was the original name for the TV show, and you've gotta wonder if MC Hammer had something to do with the name change.
3. Casting Changes
When the pilot was shot, Frances Fisher was playing the role of Jill. Known for her more dramatic work, Fisher didn't test well with audiences, so she was replaced with Patricia Richardson.
4. Family Man
Though you've probably seen Stephen Tobolowsky in a lot of projects, you probably didn't know he was slated to play Al Borland instead of Richard Karn. Tobolowsky wasn't sure if the show was going to get the go-ahead on production, so he decided to drop out in order to support his family.
"They didn’t know if it was going to be a midseason replacement or if it was going to be on next season’s lineup," Tobolowsky recalled. "My contract was they were going to pay me $16,000 a show, which was enormously princely for me, but I was to have an exclusive contract. I couldn’t do any other work, any other shows, which is normal on a regular show. But my wife was pregnant, we had a baby coming. I had auditioned for a couple of movies and was waiting on them, and they said I couldn’t do the movies. And I said, “Well, if we’re not shooting the show maybe for another 10 months, I’m not going to be able to live on $16,000 with a baby coming. So, I can’t do the show.”"
5. Thank The Police
In 1989, Richard Karn had moved to Los Angeles and was driving home from Macbeth rehearsal when he rolled through a stop sign. The actor was given a ticket and sent to traffic school, where he met an agent who told him about Home Improvement. Even though the role of Al was already filled at the time, Karn used his connections with the directors to get an audition.
"I auditioned because life keeps going," he said. "Maybe they would see me now and remember me for another show or part."
Tobolowsky dropped out of the project, and Karn got his big break.
6. Ashley Judd Was "Too Talented"
Instead of Pamela Anderson, it was originally going to be Ashley Judd as the Tool Time girl.
"When Ashley came in and read for the part I thought, My God, this girl is so talented!” remembers show creator Matt Williams.
Williams decided she was too talented, in fact, for the small part of a Tool Time girl. "So I called her agent and told him that she was so good, we would find a way to incorporate her into the series, period.”
However, days later, Judd's agent told Williams she was "not ready to go into television right now. She thinks she has a feature career."