At yesterday’s NBC executive session at the Winter TCA press tour, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke announced that its half-hour sitcom from Michael J. Fox has begun production.
Written by Sam Laybourne (Cougar Town, Arrested Development) and directed by Will Gluck (Easy A), the as yet untitled show is based on Fox’ own experiences as a husband. dad and famous guy who is grappling with Parkinson’s disease. Slake said that while Fox will play a newsman — not an actor — who left the spotlight because of the effects of the disease, the show will mirror his own ability to get back in front of the cameras because of a promising new medication regimen. And his wife and teens’ amusement at his newly deified status because of it.
“He’s recently stepped down at the beginning of the pilot to deal with his disease, but as is true in Michael’s life, there is a new medication that he’s taken that’s enabled him to really function in a way that’s much more acceptable to him to be able to put himself out there,” Salke explained. ”So the story of the pilot is actually him coming back into the seat at the news with a kind of special‑interest story and a lot of great, fun guest casting and the family rallying around him. But at the end of the day, he approaches his life and his work with a lot of irreverence and he laughs at himself and his kids joke about him.”
Including, she says, one joke where his kids hear thumping coming from their parents’ bedroom and wonder if dad’s getting busy with their mom — or just having tremors mid-nap.
Fox, who left the successful NBC sitcom Spin City in 2000 as the effects of his incurable neurological disorder became more apparent, pitched the half-hour comedy to the network earlier in the year after realizing that his improved circumstance could potentially make for a great series in itself. And give his legions of fans a long hoped for weekly visit with the beloved actor, once again.
Table reads for the show, which will shoot in New York, begin in a few weeks.