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‘Last Man Standing’ Season 8 Premiere: Mike Has an Idea for a New Side Business – Vanessa Doesn’t Love It (Exclusive Video)

Showrunner Kevin Abbott tells TheWrap these two have ”a little bit of a void to fill“ now that the girls have all moved out

Last Updated: January 2, 2020 @ 2:59 PM

Mike Baxter (Tim Allen) and Vanessa Baxter (Nancy Travis) finally have an empty nest come the Season 8 premiere of Fox’s “Last Man Standing.” And with this newfound free time, the Baxter family patriarch and Outdoor Man owner has decided to invest in a new side business to fill his days: fixing up classic cars. Vanessa, well, she doesn’t exactly love the idea.

In TheWrap’s exclusive clip from Thursday’s eighth season premiere of the sitcom, which you can view above, Vanessa tells Mike that working on cars always puts him in “such a great mood — or maybe it’s just being trapped in the garage with all those noxious fumes.”

“Yeah, nothing like a CO2 and benzene cocktail,” Mike jokes. But seriously, he’s been doing this with Chuck (Jonathan Adams) and is having a surprisingly great time. So he tells Vanessa he wants to turn flipping classic cars with Chuck into a side hustle.

Hm, she doesn’t love that idea.

“You’ve always found working on cars to be fun, you need the escape. It might ruin it if you make it all about money,” she tells him.

The two then launch into some snooty, rich people impressions about what they could possibly use more money for.

“Last Man Standing” showrunner Kevin Abbott tells TheWrap these ideas of what to do now that the girls have all moved out of the house will be a running theme throughout Season 8.

“What you’ll find is that now that Mandy (Molly McCook) and Kyle (Christoph Sanders) have moved out, there are no more biological Baxter children living at the house,” Abbott says. “And that new dynamic, now that they are empty nesters and that the kids have moved out, informs the motivations of all our characters. Vanessa has more free time, Mike has more free time. And they’ve got a little bit of a void to fill. And what do you do? And how does it change your interactions with your kids when there’s no longer a critical mass of Baxters in one place. That’s where everybody would gather. Now, everybody is fractured a little.”

And while there’s a “readjustment” going on for the Baxters on screen, there’s also one happening off-screen: “Last Man” lost its previous position as Fox’s anchor on Friday nights, due to the network’s debut of “Friday Night SmackDown” back in October.

But Abbott says he’s excited to move to what is “arguably the most-coveted slot for a sitcom, Thursday nights at 8.”

He’s also particularly OK with the shift, given that “the behemoth” that was “The Big Bang Theory” has now ended and will not be among their 8 o’clock comedy competition.

“Last Man Standing” Season 8 premieres tonight, Thursday, with two back-to-back episodes at 8/7c on Fox.