Michael J. Fox says he’ll be fine when he goes back to work on TV full-time — just as long as the role he’ll play is “a guy with Parkinson’s.”
Fox, 51, talked about his new, planned NBC sitcom when he visited David Letterman’s “Late Show” on Thursday night. The show, which apparently has no title yet, was announced earlier this week in L.A. at the annual winter press tour put on by the Television Critics Association.
Fox wasn’t in L.A., though, so he got his first chance to talk publicly about the project on the “Letterman” show in New York.
“Now you have a new starring vehicle on another network,” Letterman said, adding sarcastically, “Thanks a lot! How does that help me exactly?”
Dave then asked Fox why he’s returning to TV full-time. And Fox said it was because he has been doing so many guest shots on other shows in recent years that he felt the time was right for him to take a shot at his own show. Plus, his family would like to see him get out of the house more, he said.
“I did a few episodes of ‘The Good Wife’ and I did ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and a few things [including "Scrubs," "Rescue Me" and "Boston Legal"] and I just liked it,” Fox said. “And I thought I wasn’t doing a lot of work and I just thought as long as I play a guy that has Parkinson’s, I can do anything!”
“That makes pretty good sense,” Letterman said.
Fox went public with his Parkinson’s in 1998, and he reportedly keeps it under control with special drugs designed to lessen the illness’s most conspicuous characteristic — the loss of muscle control that causes patients to seem as if they cannot sit still.
Fox said the sitcom is based on his own family life, although he’ll play a newscaster with Parkinson’s who seeks to return to work after a lengthy absence, rather than an actor.
“This is what the show is about,” he said, “and it’s kind of based on my life, which is: This guy is a newscaster and he’s diagnosed with Parkinson’s. And cut to five years later and he’s been home with the family and he’s getting stir crazy and he wants to go back to work, And he sits his family down and says, ‘I wanna go back to work,’ and they’re like, ‘Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out!’
“So he goes back to work. The whole show is kind of liberal doses of my family,” Fox explained. Fox is married to actress Tracy Pollan and they have four children ages 23, 17 (twins) and 11.
“I said to my kids, ‘There’s gonna be a lot of your “stuff” in this show’ and I said, ‘How do you feel about that?’ And they were OK with it and I said, ‘Well, that’s good because I paid for it anyway!’”
“You own the material,” Letterman said.
“Yeah, I own the material!” Fox replied.
Watch the segment, above.