Tim Allen has tough time letting go of 'Last Man Standing'

Tim Allen (L) and Nancy Travis in "Last Man Standing." Photo courtesy of ABC
1 of 2 | Tim Allen (L) and Nancy Travis in "Last Man Standing." Photo courtesy of ABC

NEW YORK, May 20 (UPI) -- Tim Allen admits that having his sitcom, Last Man Standing, officially canceled for a second time is taking its toll on him.

"I had health problems letting go of this one," the 67-year-old stand-up comedian told reporters in a recent Zoom interview.


"I'm literally just feeling better," he added. "I loved every second of this experience."

Last Man Standing will have its Season 9 finale Thursday. The show follows Mike Baxter, the conservative, Colorado-based director of marketing for an outdoor sporting goods store chain at which his daughter Kristin (Amanda Fuller) and son-in-law Kyle (Christoph Sanders) work.

Nancy Travis plays Mike's wife, Vanessa, a teacher, and Kaitlyn Dever and Molly McCook play their daughters, Eve and Mandy.

The comedy initially ran for six seasons on ABC, was canceled in 2017 and picked up in 2018 by Fox, which said in October it wouldn't renew it for a 10th season.


Home Improvement, Galaxy Quest and Toy Story alum Allen knew something special existed about Last Man Standing, and he was grateful every day it had lived a second life.

"I walked through every hallway over and over again," Allen recalled about how he spent his downtime during the current season, knowing it would be the show's swan song.

In some ways, a long, drawn-out goodbye was worse than the "sudden death" of being canceled at the end of a season, when the cast and crew wouldn't have seen it coming, he said.

"You just don't know how much affection I have for all of [the co-stars] -- the people behind the scenes, everybody involved in this thing," Allen said.

"These were not comfortable weeks. I was counting off the hours. I did not do well with this. In a very moralistic way, I'm glad it's done because I can't feel this way anymore."

Home Improvement wrapped after eight seasons in 1999, but it was Allen's decision to walk away, so he felt different about the finale.

"It was so busy that last week [when we were filming]. It was the last five, 10 minutes of that show that everybody broke [down]. It just came so fast," he said. "They didn't want that show to end. The network really was pleading with us to keep that going."


Allen has relished his decades as a TV sitcom dad and sees himself in both Mike Baxter and Tim Taylor.

"Finishing problems in your personal life and your emotional life in 20 minutes, that would be a great thing to do," Allen said, explaining that his natural directness makes him "a little bit closer to Baxter."

He likes to think he would helm a production company, if he starts one someday, the way Mike runs his stores. But then again, he has some Tim Taylor in him, too.

"I end up starting stuff and breaking things more," he confessed. "Baxter, I love."

Last Man Standing executive producer Matt Berry said Allen had the right to refuse to do what was asked of him regarding story lines and dialogue, but he was game for almost anything.

"We knew each other, and we knew him so well and the character so well that we were pretty close all the time," Berry said.

"When he would say, 'No,' what he would say is, '[Baxter] wouldn't say that,'" Berry continued. "Then he would explain why that was, and that would give us a perspective on how he saw Mike.

"If we tried to say to him, 'Tim, just do it anyway,' he would have done it because he's a decent man, but it would have been inauthentic."


Allen, whose character often expressed his disdain for big government, is proud that Last Man Standing mined for humor and accurately reflected how people with conflicting political or social viewpoints can coexist in a close-knit family.

Likewise, the cast and crew came together from different backgrounds but worked together civilly as a team to make people laugh.

"None of us liked when we were told earlier on, from both networks: 'I think you might want to avoid talking about that,'" Allen said.

"I love that we all are the type of people that said, 'Well, screw that. We are going to talk about it, anyway.' So, what I've always appreciated about this group. It's a very broad range of attitudes."

"We were a workplace that did blend very different ideologies," executive producer Kevin Abbott said.

"There's a spectrum there in terms of politics, and the attitude from everybody was, 'Do you know what? You don't have to agree with me, but we should communicate, and we should share our ideas in a respectful manner,' which is just not currently out there in the general public," Abbott said.

"If everybody interacted the way that [the people on] this show and some of the characters did, then we'd probably all be a lot better off."


Latest Headlines