Thirty years after their television debut together on the long-running ABC sitcom Home Improvement, Tim Allen and Richard Karn are reuniting on the History Channel’s all-new workshop reality competition, Assembly Required. For the co-stars, working on the series sometimes felt like the real-life version of Tool Town, the show-within-a-show co-hosted by Allen and Karn’s characters, Timothy “Tim” Taylor and Albert “Al” Borland.
At times, Assembly Required was like a “live version of Tool Town,” Karn said during the Television Critics Association’s Winter 2021 Press Tour, with Allen adding that the pair would sometimes revert back “exactly like we were in Tool Time. It’s an amazing extension of that relationship.”
On the 10-part reality series, Allen and Karn are joined by woodworking do-it-yourself YouTube star April Wilkerson as the “best and brightest makers from across the country” compete head-to-head in at-home building competitions. Each episode they are challenged to make everything from a dual, all-season ice melter/leaf blower to a BBQ bicycle.
Filmed during the coronavirus pandemic, the entire series is remote, with the competitors working out of their own workshops while Allen, Karn and Wilkerson mentor and judge from afar.
“Overall this was a new experience for me,” Allen said, revealing that judging the work was an emotional task. “It got very difficult for me personally.” But he credited Karn for being “a consummate professional and a calm-hearted person,” helping him navigate the emotional process.
For Wilkerson, it was exciting to work with the famous duo, especially after growing up on Home Improvement. “Tim and Richard were the main show,” she said, while admitting that she was also a fan of the show’s younger, breakout star Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
What excites her about Assembly Required is that it’s part of the DIY trend that continues to get bigger and bigger. “The more people get into it, the more it inspires other people to get into it,” she said. And for Allen, “I really appreciate, instead of throwing things out, fixing and repairing things,” which is what the show is all about.
Assembly Required premieres Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.