It's no secret that NBC took a giant hit in the ratings department during the 2012-13 TV season. Almost all of NBC's dramas and comedies went into nosedive mode upon returning from the fall hiatus; the only exceptions being "Chicago Fire," "Revolution," and "The Voice." No one was surprised to see NBC cancel seven of its freshman programs, which notably included Matthew Perry's "Go On" and Ryan Murphy's "The New Normal." NBC also axed somewhat longer-running comedies "Whitney" and "Up All Night." Struggling sophomore drama "Smash" was canned, as well.
The good news is that NBC won the bidding war in acquiring the new Michael J. Fox comedy, which is set to be a sure-fire hit if properly promoted by NBC. Frankly, "The Michael J. Fox Show" is a major win for the network at this critical point. NBC executives surprisingly made the smart decision to give the show a straight-to-series order of 22 episodes. This isn't the first partnership between NBC and Michael J. Fox. Audiences likely remember the classic '80s NBC sitcom "Family Ties," which garnered various awards, including three consecutive Emmy wins for Michael in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category.
The new single-camera Michael J. Fox comedy is said to be loosely based on Michael J. Fox's own life. Michael stars as a news anchor living with Parkinson's Disease; Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1991. The comedy will also tackle the many ups and downs of fatherhood and marriage.
Aside from "Family Ties," Michael J. Fox has proven his comedic chops to TV fans over the years with hits such as ABC's "Spin City" and HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." CBS even got a dose of the Michael J. Fox magic when he first appeared on the network's critical darling "The Good Wife" as recurring guest star Louis Canning, a character viewers loved to hate. Much to CBS's delight, Michael received consecutive Emmy nominations in 2011 and 2012 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for this recurring role.
If Michael J. Fox and NBC can replicate the success of "Family Ties" or ABC's "Spin City," the network might have a chance to catapult back to the "Must-See TV" network we all once knew and loved. Can Michael J. Fox save NBC? Maybe. Audiences of all ages know Michael is extremely talented, but it's up to NBC to prove to viewers the show is worth watching.
"The Michael J. Fox Show" stars Michael J. Fox as Mike Henry, Betsy Brandt as Annie Henry, Conor Romero as Ian Henry, Juliette Goglia as Eve Henry, Jack Gore as Graham Henry, Katie Finneran as Leigh Henry, and Wendell Pierce as Harris Green. It will air Thursday nights during the 2013-14 television season at 9:30 PM on NBC.
- Arts & Entertainment