People love watching Christmas movies, and one popular franchise is The Santa Clause series, which star Tim Allen as Scott Calvin/Santa Claus. The first film centers on a regular guy who accidentally causes Santa's death and winds up filling the big guy's shoes. The beloved movies are played on rotation during the holiday season and are enjoyed by children of all ages. But have you ever wondered what went on behind the scenes during filming? Check out some interesting facts about the holiday classic and its sequels...
It Was Allen's First Big-Screen Role
Allen probably never thought he'd play one of the world's most iconic characters. In the late '70s, he spent two years in jail for drug charges before launching his comedy career. He appeared on a couple of cable TV specials before landing the lead role on the ABC sitcom Home Improvement in 1991.
The Santa Clause was Allen's first major role on the big screen. He followed it up with several other films, including Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Galaxy Quest, and, of course, sequels to The Santa Clause. His most recent projects include animated film Ralph Breaks the Internet and sitcom Last Man Standing.
The Santa Clause Was Originally Written For Bill Murray
Allen wasn't the movie maker's first choice to play Santa Claus. Initially, producers were thinking of comedian/actor Bill Murray for the role when the script was being written. At that point in his career, Murray was known for his roles in films such as Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day.
Murray had also appeared in the Christmas-themed 1988 film Scrooged. Yet, after Murray read the script for The Santa Clause and was offered the lead role he turned it down. The star didn't feel like the humor was a good match for him. Now it's hard to imagine the films without Allen in the lead.
Disney Considered Tom Hanks, Robin Williams & Several Others For The Top Role
Before Disney settled on Allen, they thought about casting Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Patrick Swayze, and a bunch of other stars in the role of Scott Calvin/Santa Claus. Hanks and Williams are incredible and funny actors and probably could have pulled the role off rather well. But Allen did a great job as Kris Kringle.
Still, Allen and Hanks wound up starring in a film together the following year, Toy Story. This hugely popular animated film was also released by Disney. Hanks voiced the role of Woody, while Allen voiced the role of Buzz Lightyear.
Allen Is Lucky He Got The Job Because Disney Is So Picky
Disney is known for being family-oriented and for promoting a wholesome image. So it's a little surprising that they allowed Allen, an ex-con, to star in the lead role because of his prison record. He was arrested at an airport in Michigan in 1978 for possessing drugs. After pleading guilty to drug trafficking, he spent two years and four months in prison.
Over 20 years had passed by the time Disney approved Allen for the role of Santa Claus. In 2017, Allen told Closer about the experience in prison, "I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals."
Allen Hated Wearing The Santa Suit
While many may think it'd pretty neat to play Santa Claus, Allen was reportedly very uncomfortable when shooting the film. The Santa Clause was actually shot in summer, and there was no air conditioning in the building. The fat suit Allen had to wear made the actor miserable.
The suit's material bothered the actor's neck and caused a rash. Allen also had to wear facial prosthetics and a beard, which can be stifling, and he was forced to take many breaks so he could cool down. There's nothing worse than having to act while wearing a really uncomfortable costume.
Eric Lloyd Lost Several Teeth During Filming
Eric Lloyd started acting at age two, appearing in The Wonder Years and several films before landing the role of Charlie Calvin in The Santa Clause. Unfortunately, he knocked out two teeth at a Toronto Blue Jays game in the midst of shooting, which caused some complications.
The schedule was bumped up, and some scenes were scrapped. "They cut me out of the end of the scene, and then put all my parts in masters," Lloyd told ABC News, adding, “My bottom two teeth throughout the whole film are all fake teeth, because my bottom two teeth fell out naturally at the beginning of the film."
The First Film Was A Box Office Hit
It may seem strange that a film centering on the demise of Santa Claus became such a huge hit, but that's exactly what happened. The first film in the franchise earned over $144 million in the United States and Canada and around $190 million globally, making it a box office smash.
The movie is so popular, it routinely airs on networks such as Freeform and AMC during the holiday season. While the two sequels didn't fare as well, all three are included in the top 10 highest-grossing Christmas movies ever. The first film also has a 74 percent fresh rating on movie review website Rotten Tomatoes.
Allen Cursed Around The Children On Set
There's a certain way people are expected to act and speak around children, but not everyone follows the rules. A few years after the films were released, Eric Lloyd, who played Charlie, revealed during an interview that Allen was a little difficult to work with.
Allen often cursed on set when children were around, sometimes because he was so irritated by his uncomfortable costume. Allen also got angry when parts of the script were late in coming to the set. Allen later apologized for his actions.
The Child Actress Who Played Judy The Elf Worked With Allen In The Past
Judy the Elf is one of the more memorable characters from the first film. The actress who played the character, Paige Tamada, was just nine years old when she starred in the film. It probably helped that she worked with Allen one year earlier by appearing on an episode of Home Improvement.
Tamada also appeared in sitcoms such as Full House and Evening Shade before landing the role. She went on to star in Seinfeld, The Fresh Prince of-Bel Air, and Ally McBeal before retiring from acting in the late '90s at the young age of 14.
Bernard The Elf Was Absent In The Third Film For A Very Good Reason
Bernard the Elf was a very popular character from the first two films in the franchise. There was a noticeable absence when he didn't appear in the third film, but he had a good reason for skipping it. The actor, David Krumholtz, was just launching his career when he appeared in the first and second Santa Clause films.
By the time filming started on The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause in 2006, Krumholtz had landed a role on the crime drama Numb3rs. He was unable to balance working on his new show and the film, so he elected not to appear in the film.
The Original Title & Script Had Pretty Significant Differences
As most people know, movie makers often consider many different titles, scripts, and ideas before coming up with a final decision about a film's direction. Producers didn't come up with The Santa Clause title until later. Originally the film was dubbed "Such a Clatter," which many recognize from the famous holiday poem The Night Before Christmas.
As strange as it may seem, the first film reportedly excluded children from the script. Allen also revealed during an interview with Jimmy Fallon that his character reportedly killed Santa Claus with a gun, but that version was nixed.
Parents Complained About The 'Spank Me' Line, & Disney Removed It
In the first film, the script included a sarcastic line from Allen in which he says, "1-800-SPANK-ME." You can see where this is going, right? A grandmother actually ended up calling that phone number to appease her grandchildren and discovered it was an adult hotline. Oops!
Parents complained to Disney after some of their kids called the phone number, and in 1997 (three years after the film's release) the studio made the decision to cut the line in future releases. It was removed from future DVD releases and changed to 1-800-POUND on TV broadcasts.
Allen Spontaneously Danced In The First Film
While many actors, especially comedians, are good at improvisation, Allen isn't usually credited with having that skill. However, he busted out some great moves during the first film in which he dances up a storm before Christmas Eve. The scene was unplanned and executed in just one take.
Director John Pasquin loved Allen's spontaneity, and even though it wasn't in the script he included the scene in the final cut. It was a good decision, because it wound up being one of the film's most memorable scenes.
Wendy Crewson Played Scott's Ex-Wife, But Several Actresses Were Considered For The Role
Wendy Crewson wound up playing Scott Calvin's ex-wife, but movie makers had several actresses in mind when casting the role of Laura, including Patricia Heaton, Nicole Kidman, Molly Ringwald, and Pamela Reed. It's now kind of strange to think of any of those women playing the role that Crewson ended up getting.
Crewson is a Canadian actress who appeared in several projects before landing the role, and she continues to act today. She has starred in a number of TV series in the last couple of years alone, including Frankie Drake Mysteries, The Detail, and Saving Hope.
Crewson Looked So Different In Each Film, Many Didn't Realize It Was The Same Actress
Only a handful of actors appeared in all three Santa Clause films, and Crewson was one of them. But a lot of people think three separate actresses played Laura because she looked radically different when she appeared on screen in the first, second, and third films.
It's not uncommon for women to switch up their looks, and Crewson happened to be one of those people who transformed for each film. If you watch the films back-to-back, it's incredible how different she looks from one to the other (and don't forget, the films were made over a span of 12 years).
The Film Features Several Hidden Mickeys
Disney is known for secretly adding images of Mickey Mouse all over the place -- into its theme park rides, architecture, films, TV series, and other products. Fans refer to them as "Easter eggs" in animated films. Naturally, the movie studio featured several hidden Mickeys in The Santa Clause.
Each of the three films includes instances in which the shape of Mickey Mouse's ears make an appearance. In the first film, Mickey is present on the moon when Scott and Charlie leave the North Pole in a sleigh. In the second film, it's a little more difficult to spot. In one scene, there's a Minnie Mouse doll in the corner of the screen.
The Storyline Isn't Entirely Original
The script for The Santa Clause relied quite a bit on a 1985 episode of Amazing Stories: Santa '85. The episode centered on the arrest of Santa Claus and an adult who didn't really like Christmas because he never received the toy he asked for as a child. It also featured a kid who was the only one who believed that Santa was real and helped get him out of jail.
The episode ended with the adult finally receiving the toy that he wanted as a child and believing in Santa Claus. The movie was written by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick, who were obviously inspired by this TV series.
The First Film References Home Improvement Several Times
By the time Allen appeared on The Santa Clause, he was already a beloved star on Home Improvement. Producers decided to have a little fun with moviegoers by including some references from the sitcom in the films. In one scene, Scott picks up a tool belt and shakes his head, and in another he says "Ho, Ho, Ho" just like Tim "The Toolman" Taylor would.
Jimmy Labriola, who played Benny on Home Improvement, also shows up in the film. In another scene, Scott extinguishes a fire and says, "And that's why it's important to have a high-quality fire extinguisher right in the kitchen," something Tim Taylor would definitely need because he was always getting into trouble.
There's A References To Allen's Jail Stint In The Santa Clause 2
In The Santa Clause 2, there's a pretty big reference to Allen's stint in prison. In the movie, Scott tries to tell Carol that he is Santa Clause, and she says, "Well, so far so good. You don't wear socks with sandals, and you've never been to prison." Scott answers, "Well....."
There are also references to Allen's successful animated film, Toy Story. At one point Toy Santa says, "You are a sad, strange little man," the same line Allen used as Buzz Lightyear in the 1995 film. Toy Santa also proclaims, "I think Santa feels a little Buzz!" referring to Allen's Toy Story character.
The Santa Clause 3 Mentions Another Holiday Hit, Elf, In A Really Funny Way
In the third movie, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, which was released in 2006, Mrs. Claus (Carol) gives birth to a son. She names him Buddy after her grandfather. The name is tongue and cheek and refers to the 2003 movie Elf, which starred Will Ferrell as a human who thinks he is an elf named Buddy.
Like the first Santa Clause film, Elf was a huge success at the box office, grossing a total of $220.4 million (with a budget of $33 million.) It also has a slightly fresher rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But we think both films are awesome to watch during the holidays.
The Recurring Cast
In all three films, only Tim Allen, Eric Lloyd, Wendy Crewson, and Judge Reinhold were the only actors to come back and reprise their exact roles in all three films. Usually, film series such as this don't get lucky enough to have so many characters return to play their original part.
This usually leads to the demise of a series, as most audiences don't like seeing a new face for an old character. Luckily, it worked out for the most part for this series.
Many Scenes Were Filmed In Canada
While the film needed scenes that were in the North Pole, they figured that might be a little too much work to pull off. So, they went to the second best place to film, Canada. However, one scene in particular that people believe was filmed in America but actually was in Canada was the scene when Scott and Charlie go to a Denny's.
This was actually filmed in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, one of the few Denny's franchises in the country. Many scenes from the first film were even shot during the summer.
There Was No Villain In The First Movie
In most films, a villain is used to help push the story further, but that wasn't the case for The Santa Clause. In that movie there was no evil villain trying to take over Christmas, it was just Tim Allen trying to save it.
This is one of the reasons it was believed to be such a hit because people were bored of seeing the typical Christmas movies, so they turned the story on its head. However, the other two movies in the series did have villains such as Toy Santa and Jack Frost.
The Ed Sullivan Reference
Ed Sullivan was a television star for almost 30 years, so it was only appropriate that The Santa Clause gave a nod to his work. In the first film, while Scott is being interrogated, he begins listing off the names of Santa Clause in languages from around the world.
Yet, at one point, he says "Topo Gigio!" This, however, is not actually a foreign name for Santa Clause, but the name of a puppet mouse that used to frequently appear on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The Santa Clause series is littered with references from other shows and movies such as Home Improvement and The Ed Sullivan Show. However, one that people tend to miss is the James Bond reference.
According to IMDB, " The techno-savvy elf Quentin, who proceeds to tell Santa about the gadgets the sleigh is a nod to the James Bond series character "Q", who is the technology master for James Bond's vehicles.” So, it appears that the creators of the film may be sneakier than we thought.
The Subtle Shout Out To Rudolph
When Scott and Charlie first arrive at the North Pole, the sleigh’s landing pad lowers into the ground, but not before an elf enters a code into a nearby keypad. The code is “1239” which has a very special significance.
1239 could be a reference to December 1939. It was during that month and year that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was created. It makes sense that they would use an easy-to-remember date like that to access the North Pole’s garage. After all, Rudolph is the one who leads Christmastime transportation!
Peter Boyle’s Double Cameo
In the first Santa Clause film, actor Peter Boyle appears as Scott Calvin’s boss at the toy company. Two years later, Boyle would become known for his television role as the cantankerous Frank Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.
That kind of star power is enough to get you into some good cameo roles in films, which is probably why Boyle also appeared in The Santa Clause 2 and 3 as Father Time, eight years after the original came out. Producers probably figured it had been so long since the first one that people would forget he already played a different character.
Tim Allen And Martin Short’s History
12 years after the original film came out, The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause premiered in theaters. The main villain for the third movie was Jack Frost, who was played by Martin Short. As it turned out, Tim Allen and Martin Short have played each other’s foils before.
In 1997, Allen and Short were known as promising comic actors, which is why they were both cast in Jungle 2 Jungle, where Allen’s character’s son falls for Short’s character’s daughter. Their chemistry didn’t last through the years, however, since the third Santa Clause film just wasn’t as good as the first.
He'd Rather Forget 1978
We all make mistakes, and Hollywood's finest is no exception. In 1978, Allen was living in Michigan, where his family moved while he was starting high school. It was there that he fell into some trouble. The voice of Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear was caught in possession of over 20 ounces of cocaine at Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport.
He pled guilty, and provided the police with the names of the people above him in the drug trade in order to get a plea deal.
Jail Was A Huge Wake-Up Call
Luckily, Allen didn't receive a life sentence or as much time as he possibly could have. He did, however, go to jail. The experience rattled him, and although the threat of jail time didn’t deter him from doing the crime, it was a whole different story once he got a taste of jail life.
The actor told Esquire, "When I went to jail, reality hit so hard that it took my breath away, took my stance away, took my strength away. The law was passed to teach people a lesson. Selling more than 650 grams of cocaine got you life in prison. I just told myself, 'I can’t do this for seven and a half years. I want to kill myself.'"
Comedy Saved His Life
Sometimes when you're caught in a bad situation you need comic relief. While in jail and recovering from the experience afterward, Allen turned to comedy. In the same interview with Esquire, he said, "The comic in me showed up, the purest form, and saved my life."
He realized that he had ruined a lot of future opportunities for himself after breaking the law. Finding employment was hard, so Allen further embraced the idea of becoming a comedian. His natural talent landed him a few small roles before finding his big break in 1991, in the starring role on Home Improvement.
Home Improvement Makes Allen A Household Name
Most actors don't receive their big break as quickly as Allen did but his talent was undeniable. By the mid ’90s, everyone knew the actor’s name and his popularity shot through the roof.
In 1995 he voiced Buzz Lightyear in the animated film Toy Story, and he became a beloved figure in mainstream entertainment. Adults loved the actor for his witty charm, and children loved him as the voice of one of their favorite Disney characters.
Allen was released from jail on June 12, 1981, after serving two years and four months for trafficking cocaine. But sixteen years later, the actor would be arrested again. In 1997, Allen was charged with a DUI in his childhood hometown of Birmingham, Michigan.
While the offense wasn't as serious as his previous charge, Allen took it seriously and checked himself into rehab in April 1998. He said in a statement, "My inexcusable lapse in judgment is a mistake that is embarrassing to myself, my family, and my associates." Allen’s own father was killed by a drunk driver in Colorado when he was just 11 years old, and that probably had a psychological impact on coping with his own actions.
Allen Bounces Back
Everyone loves a Hollywood comeback story, and luckily, Allen didn't let his slip-up end his career in entertainment. The actor bounced back and continued filming Home Improvement.
In 1999, Allen’s salary as the starring role on the show awarded him $1.25 million per episode. Momentum kept building for him and he went back into the studio to voice Buzz Lightyear again in Toy Story 2. His work earned him an Annie Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performed in an Animated Feature Production."
Everyone Came Knocking
After airing from 1991-1999, Home Improvement had its final show taping and Allen began searching for some more work. His popularity was at an all-time high at the end of the '90s and people with all sorts of scripts came knocking at his door.
While it seemed that the hardest part was over, catching his big break and becoming a television comedy icon, Allen faced another challenge: Picking the right script. In 2001, he played Joe Scheffer in the film Joe Somebody, and Eliot Arnold in Big Trouble the following year. Neither film was successful.
Not The Award He Was Hoping For
After his success with the original and sequel of The Santa Clause, Allen signed on for Christmas with the Kranks and The Santa Clause 3. Although they didn't tank at the box office, critics ripped on his roles pretty hard.
It got so bad that Allen was even nominated for a Razzie award in 2007 for "Worst Actor" and “Worst Screen Couple” for his performance in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.
Waiting And Baiting
Maybe Allen used his comic relief skills to get him over this hump, too. Although he didn't find another starring role like he had in Home Improvement to relaunch his career, Toy Story rolled out its third film of the franchise in 2010.
This time, he was also careful not to jump into a role if the script didn’t read like it would be a success. He played his cards right and signed on to the television series, Last Man Standing, where he would star as the father of the household, a Republican trying to survive in a woman’s world.
Last Man Standing Polarized Its Audience
An outspoken Republican himself, Allen fell right into the role of Mike Baxter on Last Man Standing. At the time, the 2016 presidential election was all anyone could talk about, and Allen's TV character resonated with its Republican audience. The show became so popular that it was rated the 10th Best Show On Television in a viewer’s survey.
The show was also polarizing for Allen’s fans who didn’t agree with his political views, and saw his performance as trying to fan the flames of the controversy that was already happening at the time. People wanted to be entertained, not angry.
It's Hard For Him To Remain Neutral
Giving a man a microphone and telling him not to speak his own views is tough, as Allen quickly realized. Critics came down hard on Allen after he began voicing his political views during the 2016 presidential election, and letting viewers know that he had in fact, attended Donald Trump's inauguration in support of the 45th POTUS.
He went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and ended up making things even worse for himself. "You get beat up if you don’t believe what everybody believes," he told Kimmel. “This is like ’30s Germany. I don’t know what happened.”
He Used The Wrong Comparison
While it could have been an opportunity to smooth things over with angry viewers of Last Man Standing, Allen had made things even worse for his reputation after appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Comparing the current political climate in the US to the period of time when the Nazis took over Germany did not sit right with people, and Allen's team should have jumped into crisis control. But they didn’t.
Instead, the Anne Frank Center released a statement, saying, "No one in Hollywood today is subjecting [Allen] or anyone else to what the Nazis imposed on Jews in the 1930s."
ABC Network Punished Him
Allen didn't apologize, instead hoping that life would move on from his political remarks and he could continue doing his show. But things didn’t pan out that way. ABC came down hard on the actor and went as far as canceling Last Man Standing after its sixth season finished filming, even though the ratings were still there.
Although the network cited budget concerns for their reason for canceling in May 2017, viewers thought that the timing was all too coincidental.
Republican Viewers Back Tim Allen
The ABC network decided not to renew Last Man Standing for a seventh episode, but that didn't sit right with its Republican viewer base. A petition appeared on the website Change.org demanded that the program be renewed, and threatened to boycott ABC until they changed their tune. "Last Man Standing is one of the only shows on broadcast television, and the only sitcom, that is not constantly shoving liberal ideals down the throats of the viewers," it stated.
Allen felt the need to address the cancellation personally. On May 16, 2017, he tweeted, “Stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years.”
Allen Becomes A Political Meme
It seemed that Allen couldn't stay away from politics in 2016 and 2017. After the show’s cancellation, conservatives turned him into a meme that was widely shared on the internet, including by Republican Sarah Palin. The meme showed a picture of Allen, along with the words, "Liberal tolerance."
The description read, “Last Man Standing was the 2nd highest rated comedy on ABC. It was the only show on ABC for a conservative audience. Canceled by ABC after Tim Allen admitted he went to Trump’s inauguration.”
ABC's President Speaks Up
At this point the internet was fired up about ABC canceling Last Man Standing, accusing the network of being politically-motivated in making the decision. The network chose not to ignore the claims by viewers, and instead spoke up to defend the decision.
In statement, ABC President Channing Dungey said, "I canceled Last Man Standing for the same business and scheduling reasons I canceled The Real O'Neals, Dr. Ken, The Catch, American Crime.“
No Comedies On Friday?
The reason behind the show's cancellation, Dungey argued, was the fact that ABC had decided not to air TV comedies, including Last Man Standing, on Fridays. "It was a challenging [call to make] because it was a steady performer," she said.
“But when we made the decision not to continue with comedies on Friday, that’s where it landed.” Other theories include that the show’s cast should have been paid more money, but the studio didn’t want to ask the network for more funding.
Allen Keeps Quiet
At this point in mid-2017, everyone had something to say about the cancellation of Last Man Standing and Allen himself had become a lightning rod for controversy. Whether someone told him to stand down or not, his Twitter account and other statements that could have come from the actor stayed quiet.
While the rumors continued about the motives of ABC executives, Allen stood down and let the commentary play itself out. At this point, it was probably the best decision for him to make.
Viewers Weren't Buying It
While Allen's Twitter account (smartly) remained quiet, the buzz kept making its rounds. News source Quartz released their own opinion of the show’s cancellation. They said, "Last Man Standing’s] axing shouldn’t be viewed as a deliberate affront to political conservatives any more than Firefly’s cancellation was an affront to space cowboys."
But as we learned earlier, comparisons don’t always play out the way you may have thought they would. There were still a lot of people angry with not only the show’s cancellation but the political motives they believed to be behind the decision.
A Season Goes By
After the show's cancellation in May 2017, the year passed by without any more episodes being filmed. While ABC network was done with the show, the cast, crew, producers, and viewers were not.
Nancy Travis, who plays wife Vanessa Baxter on Last Man Standing, said, "We were canceled with over 8 million viewers. They really came out. They never gave up even when we gave up. Petition after petition, letter after letter."
The Producers Were Shocked, Too
Just like the cast, producers don't want to see the shows they’ve worked so hard on to get axed. The cast, crew, and producers had put six seasons of work into Last Man Standing, and no one saw the abrupt cancellation coming.
The show’s Executive Producer Kevin Abbott described the news as "jarring" in an interview with USA Today. Abbott was just one of eleven producers on the show, with Tim Allen at the helm as the Lead Executive Producer.
What About Fox?
A year after the show's cancellation, Allen sat down for an interview with Entertainment Tonight in May 2018. He said, "Fans were like, they wouldn’t forget out it. They go, 'When is it coming back? Are you getting it back?’ I said, ‘Look, I don’t know. I don’t really know how this works where you write or call Fox. I don’t know who you call.'"
It sounded like Allen was ready to give up, but his fans weren’t. He continued,”But they did. They actually called and they got a hold of emailing groups of people and it showed just enough interest.”
How'd Allen Spend The Year Off?
Angry about his show's cancellation, Tim Allen had an unexpected year off of acting, with no plans in the works. It could have caused the actor to find himself in trouble again, without anything to aim towards, but he chose a better path.
He told Entertainment Tonight of his year off, "It’s been great, a little bit sad, because I miss my TV family, but I’ve been spending time with my family. And I did a 44-city comedy tour, which I haven’t been able to do, because Last Man was on for the six years."
Fox Announces That They Will Pick Up The Show
With a more conservative viewer base, fans of the show felt that Fox was the perfect network to revive Last Man Standing. And as Allen said, the fans reached out to the network and insisted that they adopt it. Fox surprised everyone by agreeing.
Allen was elated with the new agreement. "All of you… man, I'm telling you…. we would not be standing here [without the fans]" he told ET. “It’s gonna be a better show because of all you people that did this and I just hope we… I want to deliver. We will deliver for you.”
Last Man Didn't Hesitate to Poke Fun at ABC
When the cast of Last Man Standing reunited in 2018, they didn't wait to make a joke out of the situation they had just experienced. In one episode in season seven, Christoph Sanders’ character, Kyle (the son-in-law) is trying to watch TV but can’t find his favorite show.
"Why would they cancel a popular show that everybody loves?" Kyle asks, to which Tim Allen’s character, Mike, replies, “Maybe they’re a bunch of idiots. Just try another channel.”
Allen Calls ABC His Family
Despite everything that's happened between ABC and Allen, including the actor saying he was "stunned and blindsided by the network I called home for the last six years," Allen says that he doesn’t hold a grudge against ABC.
It was the same network which aired nine seasons of Home Improvement, as well several Disney films — Disney being the parent company of ABC. When asked how he feels about the network now, Allen told USA Today, “It’s my family over there.”
It's Important for Mike Baxter To Be On Air
Thanks to fans, the show was revived, and it's clear that Allen takes a lot of pride in the lead character he portrays on the show, as do the writers and producers.
Executive Producer Kevin Abbott told USA Today, "We tend to think of our show as being about a family first, but what makes it unique is Mike Baxter. Because you really don’t see a conservative character who isn’t an idiot or a villain who is the center of the show."
The Show's Revival Was a Success
Last Man Standing debuted on Fox on a Friday night in September 2018 and made a comeback in a big way. Variety reported that the show was the most-watched comedy (on any night) for Fox in seven years' time.
When the show aired on ABC, it was the network’s second most-watched comedy, following Modern Family. The show’s strong fan base and revived storyline quickly proved that the show wasn’t over yet, and viewers were happy to have new Last Man Standing episodes to watch, as it returned to Friday nights.
Viewers Are Always Divided
While most of the focus has been on liberals vs. conservatives when it comes to content and popularity of Last Man Standing, Allen insists that the comedy on the show is authentic to what his comedy has been like for his entire career.
"My comedy has been the same since I've been doing it for 33 years and it’s about the ultimate political divide- men and women," he told Fox News. “I’ve been doing that-and that’s all it’s about. And underneath all of that is that you just don’t get the other side, but you love the other side.”
Navigating The Networks
Now that the show is back on the air, Allen has commented on switching networks and it's clear that it’s been a sticky situation for all involved. "I want ABC to do well. I love everybody at ABC. I was shocked when we got canned when we did because we weren’t finished- that’s where my frustration came from."
He continued. “I want this to be a success because Fox took a shot on us, and the Fox network is a smaller and more aggressive group than ABC and Disney. Of course, Fox is now owned by Disney and ABC. It’s kind of a crazy world, what happened there…”
Mike Baxter Isn't Tim Allen
While Allen has come out to say that he's conservative and enjoys working on a show that depicts a conservative family in America, that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything his character Mike Baxter says and does on the show is something that Allen believes himself.
"I’m not the character I play," the actor told Vanity Fair. “If you want to know what I think, come see me at the Mirage in Las Vegas," noting his stand-up comedy tour.
"It's Nobody’s Business"
While doing press tours for the revival of Last Man Standing, Allen was undoubtedly asked about his political views dozens of times. Knowing that he's gotten himself into hot water over the topic before, he starts the interviews calmly and even-keeled, but you can sense his annoyance by the end.
"When you get into this world- these two guys are not the same guy. You know, Mike Baxter is much more tolerant of other ideas than me on stage. Me, personally- Tim Allen is nobody’s business, and really, who cares what I think?"
The Roseanne Connection
In May 2017 it was announced that Last Man Standing would not be renewed for a seventh season. Nearly a year to the day later, Roseanne was canceled for actress Roseanne Barr's comments on her personal Twitter account. However, the two shows were treated differently when it came to deciding who and what would be revived.
When asked about the cancelling of Roseanne, Allen said that ABC "had to do what they had to do." The initial revival of Roseanne in March 2018 brought in 18 million viewers who were quickly disappointed with the show’s cancellation two months later in May 2018.
Allen Says He's Getting Older and Worn Out On It
When you've been working in Hollywood in the limelight for as long as Allen has, it’s understandable that you could get burnt out on everything that comes with it. While he wants to focus on his craft of comedy and acting, other people want to dig into things that he doesn’t believe matter.
"I understand addiction and to me, that’s what this feels like. People have got that anger and that angst going and you’ve gotta stand back a little bit… We’re just about being funny! This whole thing’s about being funny."