Michael J. Fox Makes Television Return
Fans of television for the whole family were given great news recently when Deadline broke the news that NBC has won a bidding war for the show that will mark Michael J. Fox‘s return to TV. The project, which will be a family comedy, was nabbed by NBC after it beat the other networks by offering a full 22 episode season on air order for the series. This is a fairly unprecedented pickup, especially in today’s entertainment landscape.
The still unnamed series will not only mark Fox’s return to TV, but also his return to the network that made him famous almost 30 years ago with Family Ties. Although little is known about the series, the information we have is able to shed some light on the project. Michael J. Fox will of course be starring in this single camera comedy co-created by Sam Laybourne and Will Gluck, with Gluck directing the pilot. The setup for the series is said to mostly resemble Fox’s own life. His character will be a husband and father of three living in New York. The series will follow him as he deals with his family, his work, and his challenges with Parkinson’s disease.
Although this will mark his return as a star, Fox has not been completely removed from the TV landscape since the public announcement of his disease. In 2009 he recurred on the FX series Rescue Me for a handful of episodes, he has made several guest starring appearances on CBS’ The Good Wife (six to date), and even guested on Curb Your Enthusiasm last year. I was watching Rescue Me during the time Fox appeared and I have been a big proponent of The Good Wife since the show’s second season. Based on those experiences I can say that, although his Parkinson’s is obviously an obstacle for him to work through, his acting ability has not waned in the slightest. Sure the characters he plays now all have to be subject to some disease that can explain his Parkinson’s symptoms, but how is this any different than the actor who has been type cast as a cop or as an attorney steadily for the last decade?
NBC, and specifically network chairman Bob Greenblatt, is obviously happy to have Fox back on the network. Said Greenblatt of Fox: “He is utterly relatable, optimistic, and in a class by himself, and I have no doubt that the character he will create—and the vivid family characters surrounding him—will be both instantly recognizable and hilarious.” Setting aside the talent of the actor and the goodwill he bring with him everywhere, NBC, with its financial and ratings struggles, are also hoping for the heaps of press that a move this large will garner. As the network’s comedies fight against those of juggernaut CBS and the hype of Fox’s New Girl, having someone with the star power of Michael J. Fox in their corner can only be seen as the best shot they have at making any headway. This is not to say that he is the silver bullet they need to win, but he is more of a weapon that at least gives them a fighting chance.
The as-of-yet untitled series is currently scheduled to debut in the Fall of 2013. Until then make sure to check back in for updates as they break.