Originally, actress Frances Fisher was cast as Jill Taylor. During the filming of the pilot, audiences reacted poorly, saying that she made the character of Jill whiney and desperate. She was replaced with Patricia Richardson four days before the pilot episode was taped.
There is a running gag regarding the Taylors' neighbor, Wilson; his face is always concealed from about the nose down (except in one episode where the top half of his face is covered with papier mache). In most episodes, Wilson was being shot from behind a fence, but in later episodes where he got out more often, camera shots, actor movements, and prop placements were carefully orchestrated so that his full face was not revealed. In fact, during all the curtain calls for the show (except the series finale curtain call, where his entire face was shown), actor Earl Hindman, who played Wilson, would bring a miniature picket fence to hold in front of his face so that it would remain hidden from view.
The show was originally conceived under the name "Hammer Time", after the show Tim would host. Prior to filming the pilot, Tim's show was re-named "Tool Time" to avoid confusion with M.C. Hammer. Consequently, the show was re-named "Home Improvement" because the creators decided against naming the show after the show-within the show, to avoid confusing viewers.
When the show went into syndication in 1995, the producers chose to film a new episode to kick-off the syndicated episodes, a first for a network series. Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson filmed part of the episode at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., where their characters had a race, driving tanks on a mapped out course. Many Marines of 1st Tank Battalion were then invited to the studios in Los Angeles to watch the filming of the rest of the episode live from the studio audience.
In the show the oldest brother, Brad is 13 months older than the second brother, Randy. However, in reality, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played Randy, is older by a month and a day than Zachery Ty Bryan, who played his older brother. Bryan was considerably taller than Thomas, which allowed him to be passed off as the older brother. In later seasons, Taran Noah Smith who played Mark, the youngest brother, would also have a height advantage over Thomas.
A Super Nintendo video game was based on the television series. As part of the game's gimmick, the majority of the instruction manual was blanked out with the words "REAL MEN DON'T NEED INSTRUCTIONS." The game was only loosely based on the show, and featured Tim fighting through various television sets in the Tool Time studio, doing battle with such foes as men dressed up like dinosaurs.
Binford Tools, as promoted by Tim on "Tool Time", is featured in Toy Story, also starring Tim Allen. They can be seen in the scene when Woody is trying to help Buzz escape from Andy's evil next door neighbour Sid's room. Woody pushes a red toolbox off the side of the counter and when the toolbox comes into shot you can see the Binford logo on the toolbox.
The label "WLS" was frequently used to cover up real corporate logos. These are the initials of the series' original property master, Warren Schaffer. WLS are the call letters of the ABC Owned and Operated affiliate station in Chicago, Illinois. WLS are also the call letters of 2 radio station in Chicago owned by Citadel (who bought ABC's radio division).
Ashley Judd auditioned for and won the role of Lisa the Tool Girl. However, her agent urged her to pursue movies instead of a television career, and she pulled out days before the original pilot was to be taped, resulting in the casting of Pamela Anderson. The last-minute change necessitated alterations to the original script, in which Lisa was a major character; she was a college student majoring in psychology who acted as a stand-in for Jill on the Tool Time set.
The original theme song of the show was going to be "I'll Repair For You" performed by 'Weird Al' Yankovic which spoofs the theme song to Home Improvement's rival show Friends (1994). But was replaced and removed due to the creators of Friends were threatening to sue them for copyright issues.