While Tim Allen's run as Last Man Standing's Mike Baxter is coming to an end in 2021, the comedic actor's career is branching out at the same time thanks to a brand new project coming to History. Allen is teaming up again with his former Home Improvement co-star Richard Karn for the unscripted competition series Assembly Required, which will feature DIY builders trying to win over the TV hosts' with their at-home contraptions. As natural a fit as this seems for anyone who watched Home Improvement during its broadcast run, the Allen and Karn reunion nearly didn't happen.
Along with executive producer Brent Montgomery and co-host April Wilkerson, Tim Allen and Richard Karn spoke with press as part of the Television Critics Association's Winter 2021 virtual press tour. I asked Allen and Karn about joining the show and if they had any hesitations about doing it, and here's the surprising answer Allen gave:
ALLEN: There was a hesitation on my part, when I developed this a long time ago, an idea with the other executive [being] Kate Fox. We put this thing together a long time ago, and pitched it, and never would I consider Richard would be interested for some reason. I just, I don't know, I see Richard, you know, socially, and I never even thought about it. And then one of my management team [members] says, 'Why don't you ask Richard to host with you?' The only hesitation was I didn't want to embarrass myself by going, 'Would you mind doing it? It's kind of a look at fix-it [shows].' And he jumped at the chance. Then, all of a sudden, it became the two of us, kind of a live version of 'Tool Time,' if you will. We're very similar to the characters we've played that show.
KARN: Yeah, we don't like to ask questions we don't know the answers to. [Laughs.]
Amusingly enough, Tim Allen didn't immediately think about asking his former Home Improvement buddy and co-star to join him on the journey with this new project. Considering Assembly Required already looks like a pseudo-spinoff of Home Improvement's "Tool Time," it just seems silly that Richard Karn wouldn't be the first person Allen would think of, even if he wasn't specifically looking to find anyone else to join him on-screen. In any case, it's good for everyone on the audience side that a voice of reason came into play and nudged Allen to reach out to Karn to see if he would be interested in co-hosting.
It's hard to look at the above image of Tim Allen and Richard Karn and think that Karn would have done anything but embrace the chance to bring a show like this to life. To that end, here's how the former Family Feud host explained how his family history played into why he was so quick to say yes to hopping aboard Assembly Required. In his words:
You know, my dad was a builder; my grandfather was a builder. I've always really respected that part of our society, our minds being able to do that. And like Tim said, you know, things break around the house, and sometimes you don't want to throw it away, because it might be just a little tiny thing that will fix it and it will work perfectly instead of going into a trash heap. We've all had forms of this kind of a show in our heads, but Tim was able to bring it to fruition. It's really kind of neat to get that message out and have people do that on television.
After seeing some of what Allen and Karn will be judging on Assembly Required, I can already foresee the show inspiring a lot of viewers to start tinkering with stuff around the house. Though likely smaller objects, as opposed to lawn mowers and other larger appliances that Tim Taylor would attempt to remedy with his DIY skills.
For everyone already getting "Tool Time" vibes, Assembly Required even boasts a female co-host in April Wilkerson, who is no doubt a bit more involved in the show itself than the "Tool Girls" Lisa, played by Pamela Anderson, or Heidi, played by Debbe Dunning. Wilkerson humorously mentioned during the TCA panel that her youth-oriented attraction to Jonathan Taylor Thomas was part of her initial Home Improvement fandom, so here's hoping fans can expect to see him and any other Home Improvement vets showing up in Season 1 or whatever may come next. (We might see some of the original "Tool Time" set though, since Tim Allen previously revealed that he's still in possession of it.)
Hopefully Assembly Required will give fans a jolt of Home Improvement-laced nostalgia when it debuts on History on Tuesday, February 23, at 10:00 p.m. ET. It might be enough to convince the powers that be to bring Home Improvement back in some form, an idea that was hinted at on Last Man Standing's crossover episode.