Patricia Richardson became a household name during her role as Jill Taylor on the hit '90s sitcom "Home Improvement." But the actress wasn't originally slated to play the wife of bumbling TV show host Tim Taylor. She discussed her last-minute addition to the 'Home Improvement' cast on HuffPost Live.
Initially, the show's producers wanted Frances Fisher in the role of Jill, opposite the show's star Tim Allen. But after Fisher's pilot screen-tested poorly with audiences, producers scrambled to hire Richardson.
The timing was difficult for Richardson, who was nursing at the time. "I had just given birth to two babies, and I really was supposed to do another show for ABC. And that was supposed to happen 9 months later, so I was going to have all this time to lose the weight, and go be with my babies and work."
But ABC executives called her and informed her that she would instead be working with Allen, then a stand-up comedian, on a new show.
"I had never heard of Tim and I didn't know anything about it. And they sent me a tape of Tim. And I said, 'look, I'm nursing twins. You have to wait for me for 40 minutes while I'm doing that.' And they said, 'oh yeah, we'll do anything,'" she explained to host Josh Zepps.
She was convinced when she heard that the producers of 'Home Improvement' had also worked on Richardson's favorite show. "They told me that the producers had produced 'Roseanne,' which was my favorite show. So I went in and met the producers and they talked to me that afternoon. And my husband and I watched that clip of Tim and that was terrific and so I thought, I guess I should do this."
Richardson immediately had chemistry with her co-star. "Tim was so hilarious and we just clicked right away. It was a really fast five or six days, we did the pilot."
But she was surprised by the show's success. "I had done a lot of pilots already, I had already done a couple of television series, so when everybody laughed a lot, I just thought, 'well, they have a really good audience,'" she explained. "And I just didn't really think a lot about it, because you know, usually things just don't go. So I didn't really have a clue that it was going to be as successful as it was."
Her husband, however, knew that the show would be a big hit. "My husband got it. I mean, he came back that night and said, 'this is the show you're going to do for seven years.'"
"I just went, 'really?' and he was right."