It’s official, Home Improvement is closing shop at the end of this season.

After months of listening to Tim Allen tell anyone who’d listen that he was shuttering his show, ABC finally confirmed the inevitable, announcing Friday that Home Improvement will wind up its eight-year run in May.

“After long discussions with my family, Pat Richardson [his sitcom wife], and the cast members, I have decided to end the show,” Allen said today in a statement.

“I want to devote my time to modeling my line of stainless steel thong underwear for men. Home Improvement has been a treasure to me and I will miss everyone terribly. But now is the time to focus on my movies, my tool line, my charity work, and finishing my hot rod and a boat-load of house chores.”

Added a bit more serious Richardson: “It’s been an incredible eight years, both personally and professionally, but it feels like it’s time to move on.”

Speculation’s been building for months that Tool Time had run out of time, for several reasons:

  • In April, Variety reported that for Disney to cash in on a lucrative syndication deal (worth about $2.7 million per episode), the studio needed to commit to a firm end date.
  • The show is is getting to be too expensive for Disney–Allen alone rakes in $1.25 mil per half-hour.
  • A Legal fight between Disney and Home Improvment’s independent producer Wind Dancer over the show’s value hasn’t exactly made for a happy household.
  • The empty nest factor: Allen’s sitcom scion Jonathan Taylor Thomas exited the show earlier this year to concentrate on school.

Of course, ratings-starved ABC and corporate parent Disney didn’t want to unplug Home Improvement so soon–the show still pulls in decent ratings, ranking first in its Tuesday time slot. The producers tried offering Allen $2 million an episode and Richardson $1 million per show to return for a ninth season, but the stars turned down the dough.
Although Allen never won an Emmy for his work, his show was one of the most decorated sitcoms, earning Emmy, Golden Globe and People’s Choice awards, in addition to being one of the most watched shows of the ’90s.

“All of us at ABC are proud to have been part of the incredible comedic legacy of Home Improvement,” said ABC programming boss Stu Bloomberg. “It has been a truly great ride.”

Count on a Very Special sendoff for the Tool Time types. ABC says that “major plans are underway to provide the series with an appropriate and memorable farewell.”


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