Twelve years after he left his last regular TV series, Spin City, to deal with his Parkinson's disease and three decades after he hit the big time with Family Ties and the Back to the Future trilogy, Michael J. Fox is returning to prime time. According to Josef Adalian at New York's Vulture blog, the 51-year-old Fox has already pitched a new single-camera sitcom to all four major networks, and "two industry sources — using phrases such as 'feeding frenzy' and 'bidding war' — tell us it's now just a matter of which network will offer the most attractive deal." Here's what we know about the anticipated return of one of America's most-loved TV stars.
What is the show about?
"We're still trying to track down plot details," says New York's Adalian, "but our sources tell us the show will be inspired by Fox's own life." At this point, "little else is known about the show," says Sean O'Neal at A.V. Club, "particularly whether Michael J. Fox will be playing himself or 'himself.'" But he's "already mined somewhat-uncomfortable laughs from Parkinson's disease on Curb Your Enthusiasm," and presumably this new show will "expand on that premise." That's not necessarily bad — Fox's life is "definitely more interesting" that that of the typical self-obsessed TV star who insists on over-sharing on TV.
Fox's Parkinson's won't get in the way?
He may have retired from full-time TV, but Fox has been keeping himself busy — and winning Emmys — with recurring cameos on Boston Legal, Rescue Me, and, most recently, The Good Wife, says Ellen Gray in the Philadelphia Daily News. Also, in May, the actor told ABC News that he's found a new drug regimen that helps him control the tics from Parkinson's, allowing him to take on more acting gigs.
And is it really a sure thing?
"Apparently it's now just a question of which [network] backs up the biggest truck," says Gray at the Philadelphia Daily News, "or, perhaps, is willing to make a deal that will allow Fox to maintain a schedule that doesn't risk his health." The project will almost certainly get the green light to film a pilot, says New York's Adalian, and "there's even industry buzz about one network offering to go straight to series, something that hardly ever happens in broadcast TV anymore." That's plausible given Fox's track record — "two big hit sitcoms" and rare staying power — and those of his collaborators, director Will Gluck (Easy A) and writer Sam Laybourne (Cougar Town, Arrested Development).
Which network is going to win the bidding war?
If the cash offers are relatively equal, it's hard to say. Fox has relationships with at least three of them — Family Ties was on NBC, Spin City on ABC, and The Good Wife airs on CBS. And "as for Rupert Murdoch's broadcaster," says New York's Adalian, "well, c'mon: Fox on Fox practically writes itself."