TCA 2011: Tim Allen is a new 'Man' in ABC comedy
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
One thing is clear about Tim Allen's new ABC comedy, "Last Man Standing." James Brown's classic "It''s a Man's Man's Man's World" will NOT be the theme song.
"Last Man Standing" is a vehicle for Allen's testosterone-fueled persona that he strutted with his popular "Home Improvement." But unlike that series, Allen is now surrounded by women instead of men.
"I really wanted to flip-flop 'Home Improvement,' " Allen said as he discussed the series during ABC's portion of the Television Critics Assn. press tour. "I really wanted to investigate an area where this guy is operating around all these women who are intelligient and loving."
In "Last Man Standing," Allen plays Mike Baxter, who travels around the world for his duties as an executive at an iconic outdoor sporting goods store. He is happily married to Vanessa (Nancy Travis) and has three daughters. When hard times hit the store, Mike decides he should stay closer to home, which will allow him more time to spend with his daughters, who are all experiencing various problems.
Allen said there are similarities between his two shows. Instead of working around tools as he did on "Home Improvement," he will be dealing with "hunting and guns."
Allen said he had been considering returning to prime time television in a dramedy. But none of those opportunities worked out.
He also compared working for the Disney-owned ABC under its current leadership as opposed to the '90s when "Home Improvement" was on the air.
"It's a tighter leadership, and the whole landscape has changed," he said, pointing to websites such as Hulu, where TV shows can be seen for free. He said in its heyday, "Home Improvement" commanded 30 million viewers: "We could have told the president what to do," he quipped.
He added that that now networks, with lesser revenue, have to do more with less. He joked, "We drink water out of a hose."
For the record, 2:19 p.m. Aug. 9: A previous version of this post said that "Home Improvement" was an '80s show and that Hula was a website where TV content could be viewed for free. The show debuted in 1991, and the name of the website is Hulu.
-- Greg Braxton
Photo: Tim Allen and Nancy Travis talk to the press about "Last Man Standing." Credit: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images.