Former tween heartthrob Jonathan Taylor Thomas will reunite with his one-time TV dad, Tim Allen, on March 22 when Thomas guests on Allen's sitcom "Last Man Standing."
Thomas, who played middle child Randy Taylor to Tim Allen and Patricia Richardson's Tim and Jill Taylor on "Home Improvement," was a regular "Tiger Beat" cover boy in the mid- to late '90s thanks to the sitcom's popularity -- but after the show ended in 1999, Thomas adopted a surprisingly low profile, heading for college (starting out at Harvard in 2000, he finally got his degree from Columbia a few years ago) and traveling. Thomas told Entertainment Weekly back in 2011 that his co-stars Zachery Ty Bryan and Taran Noah Smith -- who played his brothers Brad and Mark, respectively -- used to tease him about his pin-up status, but he understood: "There are too many things you could make fun of." But Thomas didn't seem in any rush to return to the headlines, telling EW he'd like to focus on working behind the camera down the road. (At that time, Thomas also said he hadn't yet heard from Allen about a "Last Man Standing" guest shot.)
Thomas has worked in front of the camera occasionally in the years since "Home Improvement" went off the air, though, scoring guest spots on "The Simpsons," "Smallville," and "8 Simple Rules." But it's been a while -- his last role of note is probably a single episode of "Veronica Mars" back in 2005.
In his upcoming job, Thomas is playing Jon, a restaurant owner and hipster who used to work with single mom Kristin (Amanda Fuller), the Allen character's eldest daughter. No word on whether the connection Kristin and Jon make will lead to Thomas playing Allen's son-in-law this time around, but we do know Thomas isn't the first "Home Improvement" grad to appear on "LMS." Retired "Family Feud" host Richard Karn has turned up on the show as an architect.
Thomas's onscreen bro Zachery Ty Bryan, meanwhile, has gone the opposite direction and become a guest-starring veteran, appearing on everything from "Buffy" to "ER" to, well, "Veronica Mars" (he and Thomas didn't appear in the same episode). He also owns a bar in Hollywood. Taran Noah Smith decided after "Home Improvement" that he'd had enough of the acting life, and hasn't appeared on the small screen since. But he might consider changing his mind; it seems the vegan restaurant he runs is either too stressful or not keeping Smith busy, as the end of last year saw Smith pinched for DUI and drug-possession charges.
Did you think "JTT" was dreamy back in the day -- and/or a good actor? Are you excited to see how he does on "Last Man Standing," or whether his part gets expanded? Talk to us about Thomas and "Tool Time" in the comments.
A clip of the Allen/Karn reunion from "Entertainment Tonight" is right here:
"Last Man Standing" airs Fridays at 8 PM on ABC.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Tim Allen
- Jonathan Taylor Thomas
- Taran Noah Smith
- Zachery Ty Bryan