His ratings-challenged NBC comedy, “The Michael J. Fox Show,” has been shelved for weeks, with every expectation that a cancellation order is inevitable.
Fox’s reaction: not quite.
“We’re not hearing a death sentence,” he said in a telephone interview. “We’re hoping NBC can still find a good place for the last episodes.”
That would be the seven episodes that remain unseen after the series wrapped production. The seven represent the best work the show has done, Fox said, suggesting that if they had a reasonable chance to be seen, the dim prospects might lift.
Those episodes include a guest-star appearance by Christopher Lloyd, well remembered as Fox’s comic partner in the “Back to the Future” films.
The sitcom’s co-creator Will Gluck also argued that, as is often the case with television comedies, it took this one a while to find its voice.
Of course there was that other issue, one Gluck frankly called “the elephant in the room.” Fox lives and works with Parkinson’s disease, a fact of life built into the series. His character, a television reporter, also has the condition.
“It takes a while for people to get past that,” Gluck said. But he also argued that it made the comedy “a pretty special show.”
“We want people to laugh and forget about what Michael is going through,” he said. “All that being said, people watch and are extremely inspired by it.”
In terms of working after having disclosed his Parkinson’s diagnosis, Fox has said he realized “early on it was either going to be something where I couldn’t keep up or I was going to get stronger — I felt I got stronger.” So much so that he signed on for a multi-episode arc reprising his Louis Canning character on “The Good Wife,” the CBS series on which he proved a popular legal nemesis for Julianna Margulies’s character.
Fox would gladly sign to renew “The Michael J. Fox Show.” At the moment, however, there seems little rationale for that. The series posted low numbers from the start.
Everything NBC has tried on Thursdays this season has flopped. “Not by way of complaint, but just by having a firm grasp of the obvious, we were in a tough time slot,” Fox said. “I have said that you could hide out from the FBI on Thursday night on NBC.”
Gluck suggested that Tuesday — the night on which “The Voice” has helped the new CBS comedy “About a Boy” off to a good start — would be an ideal new location. Fox said he just wanted the show to get back on, somewhere, “whether it be on NBC — or then there’s the USA option.”