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How Much Money Did Tim Allen Really Make From Home Improvement?

Tim Allen has had his fair share of iconic movie roles throughout his long career. To some, he is Buzz Lightyear, the righteous space cop action figure from Toy Story. Others know him simply as Scott Calvin from The Santa Clause. A few might even think of him as Galaxy Quest's Jason Nesmith. But that's not how Allen originally earned a name for himself. 

Allen originally drew the attention of Americans as Tim Taylor, the bullheaded father/protagonist from the classic 1990s sitcom series Home Improvement. Tim Taylor is the typical Homer Simpson type, albeit a little more grounded since he's not a cartoon. He's kind of oafish and a little misogynistic, but at the end of the day, he loves his family. It's the classic setup for a sitcom of that era, but it was effective enough to catapult the standup comedian further into the public consciousness. And though modern audiences may be more familiar with him as a movie star, Home Improvement's eight seasons stack up to be Allen's most lucrative affair.

How much did Tim Allen make from Home Improvement?

Granted, Tim Allen wasn't always making the biggest bucks from Home Improvement. Up until the show, he had been making a name for himself as a standup comedian, and Home Improvement was one of his earliest roles (via IMDb). According to The Richest, Allen was making $200,000 an episode in 1996. That's five years after the show first aired. By the show's final season in 1998, Allen was making a stunning $1.25 million per episode. 

For context, that's more than half as much as he earned from starring in Galaxy Quest and almost three times what he was paid for the first Toy Story. Adding up that season's 28 episodes, Allen earned $35 million that year just from Home Improvement. That completely blows any other project he's done out of the water, and according to Digital Spy, he's the fourth-highest-paid TV actor ever.

But it isn't all about the money for Tim Allen

Credit where it's due, Tim Allen wasn't just in it for the greenbacks. According to a documentary originally aired on The Biography Channel, the network wanted another, ninth season of Home Improvement. However, both Tim Allen and his co-star Patricia Richardson had no interest in continuing the series. ABC even offered the two actors $50 million and $25 million, respectively. Both refused the offer.

"I couldn't have gone on, 'cause it would have been for the wrong reasons," Allen said. Much to the chagrin of the network, Allen has enough respect for the art that he's willing to let go of a role when it has run its course. That's an admirable feat to walk away from so much dough; lots of Hollywood actors before him have chosen differently. 

Nowadays, Allen is still hard at work, though he isn't quite making the same money he made on Home Improvement. His show, Last Man Standing, is currently on its ninth season. It airs on Fox and features Allen acting in his familiar sitcom dad schtick. Far from the millions Allen made in the '90s, the actor earns a relatively modest $235,000 per episode.