PASADENA, Calif. – On his upcoming NBC comedy, Michael J. Fox will play a newscaster who had quit his job due to Parkinson’s disease but returns to work in the show’s first episode because a new medical regimen has helped him control many of the disease’s symptoms.
It mirrors the life of the former “Family Ties” and “Spin City” star, who said last year that drugs have helped minimize the physical tics of Parkinson’s and have enabled him to take on more acting jobs.
The yet-to-be-named sitcom is a key piece of NBC’s strategy to build upon a revival that has brought the network back from years in the ratings wilderness. “The Voice” and “Revolution” have helped make NBC the only one of the four biggest networks to gain in viewership over last season.
Though it’s not definite, NBC is penciling Fox’s comedy in for September on its Thursday schedule.
The long-running Thursday comedy “30 Rock” ends its run Jan. 31, and “The Office” will exit after a special one-hour episode this spring.
In the family comedy, Fox’s character will be the father of two teenage children and a younger boy, said Jennifer Salke, the network’s entertainment president, on Sunday. It will be filmed in New York City.
The way Fox deals with his disease has made him an object of admiration, yet the actor “approaches his life and his work with a lot of irreverence,” Salke said.
“It’s a family show that has him dealing with work and office relationships as well as dealing with kind of his public persona, which is very real,” she said. “You see, he gets a standing ovation everywhere he shows up, and the idea that he’s sort of been put up on this pedestal by the country and the world, really. He’s just a regular guy, who gets frustrated, who gets mad at having to sit at home.”
Fox is meeting this week with actresses who may be cast as his wife on the show.
Fox has appeared in limited roles over the past few years, most notably as a lawyer in CBS’ “The Good Wife.”
But it’s his track record as the star of two previous sitcoms that has NBC executives looking forward to the new show.
Actor jailed on intoxication charge
SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Josh Brolin spent some of New Year’s Day in a Southern California jail cell after getting arrested for misdemeanor public intoxication.
Santa Monica Police Lt. Darrell Lowe said the actor was not given a citation for the Tuesday arrest, which means he likely won’t have to appear in court.
Lowe said Brolin was arrested just before midnight Jan. 1, when officers found him heavily intoxicated on a Santa Monica sidewalk. He was released about six hours later.
A call to a publicist for Brolin was not immediately returned Sunday.
Brolin is starring in the film “Gangster Squad,” opening this week.
‘Chainsaw 3-D’ boots ‘Hobbit’ from top spot
LOS ANGELES – It took Leatherface and his chainsaw to chase tiny hobbit Bilbo Baggins out of the top spot at the box office.
Lionsgate’s horror sequel “Texas Chainsaw 3-D” debuted at No. 1 with $23 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. The movie picks up where 1974’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” left off, with masked killer Leatherface on the loose again.
Quentin Tarantino’s revenge saga “Django Unchained” held on at No. 2 for a second weekend with $20.1 million. That raised its domestic total to $106.4 million.
After three weekends at No. 1, part one of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” trilogy slipped to third with $17.5 million. That lifts its domestic haul to $263.8 million.
Also passing the $100 million mark over the weekend was “Les Miserables,” which finished at No. 4 with $16.1 million, pushing its domestic total to $103.6 million.
— From news service reports