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Here's how much Tim Allen was offered for Home Improvement season 9

ABC wanted Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor and his family to return for a ninth and final season of Home Improvement — and the network was willing to shell out some serious cash to make it happen.

Tim Allen portrayed the genially goofy TV show host for eight seasons between 1991 and 1999, and for millions of viewers, his character's family — including wife Jill (Patricia Richardson) and sons Brad (Zachery Ty Bryan), Randy (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), and Mark (Taran Noah Smith) — became like a second family who dropped by to visit once a week. In an era when NBC's Seinfeld and Friends were regularly dominating the pop culture conversation, Home Improvement was a ratings powerhouse for ABC — with its lighthearted humor, dazzling array of guest stars, and Allen's strongly-drawn persona combining to create a winning formula.

By the end of season 8, the series' cast were largely ready to move on, but it's not exactly a shocker that ABC would have preferred to keep the ball rolling for one more season. What might come as a bit of a shock, though, is the insane sum of money that the network was ready to dole out to the show's two biggest stars. For just one more batch of episodes, ABC offered Allen an eye-watering $50 million; his onscreen wife Richardson was offered $25 million. Amazingly, the pair both declined — because while Home Improvement doubtless made them both very wealthy, for them, the show was always more of a labor of love than a means to a giant paycheck.

Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson didn't want to return just for the money

In 2002, the show's principals were interviewed for Home Improvement: A Half Hour of Power, a retrospective on the show produced by the Biography Channel. Allen and Richardson both admitted that while that titanic payday was more than a little tempting, it would have been doing a disservice to Home Improvement's legacy to return just for the dough. "I couldn't have gone on," Allen said, "because it would have been about the wrong route for the wrong reasons."

Richardson echoed that sentiment, while also noting that it's not like either of them really needed the money. "Everybody's just staying for the paycheck," she said. "I mean, everybody just wants to be there for another year because there's so much money involved by now, that everybody just wants to do it for the money, and that's not a reason to do work. Yeah, I would have liked to have had the $25 million, you know. But, I already made a lot of money from Home Improvement. I made enough to live well, the rest of my life, without working. I knew I'd want to work anyway... do I need a Learjet? No, I really don't."

That's a pretty refreshing attitude, and as well-loved as Home Improvement was, its loyal viewers needed another season of its stars going through the motions about as much much as Richardson needed that Learjet. It's the rare case of a juggernaut of a network series concluding at a time when it was best to do so for creative reasons, rather than financial ones — and the obvious affection the series' stars still have for it to this day only serve to illustrate how special Home Improvement really was.