Michael J. Fox Returns to Television in NBC Comedy Series

Michael J. Fox, star of the 1980s NBC series “Family Ties” who downsized his career while battling Parkinson’s disease, will return to the network in a new comedy set for next year.

NBC, controlled by Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), ordered 22 episodes of the unnamed show from Sony Corp. (6758)’s TV studio, the New York-based network said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.

Fox, 51, is returning to a starring role after stepping back from films and TV to run a foundation he formed to combat Parkison’s. The actor was diagnosed with the illness in 1991 and made it public in 1998. Fox brings a well-known name to NBC, which is rebuilding its prime-time programming.

“We are thrilled that one of the great comedic television stars is coming home again,” Bob Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in the statement. “Being in business with him is a supreme pleasure.”

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, fell 0.4 percent to $33.90 yesterday in New York. The stock has gained 43 percent this year to lead the S&P 500 Media Index.

The show will be based loosely on Fox’s real life, following a husband and father of three from New York dealing with family, career and challenges, including Parkinson’s, NBC said in the announcement. The single-camera series will begin shooting this year, with episodes scheduled to air around September 2013, NBC said.

The executive producers and co-creators are Will Gluck, whose credits include the films “Easy A” and “Friends with Benefits,” and Sam Laybourne, known for the TV comedies “Cougar Town” and “Arrested Development,” NBC said. Gluck will direct the pilot episode.

Emmy Nominations

Fox garnered Emmy nominations in July for guest roles on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which airs on Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s HBO, and “The Good Wife,” on CBS Corp. (CBS)’s TV network. The Emmy Awards will be telecast on Sept. 23.

The Canadian-born actor gained fame in 1982 for his role as Alex Keaton on “Family Ties,” winning three Emmys and a Golden Globe award. The show ran for seven seasons, according to the Internet Movie Database.

Film roles followed, including “Teen Wolf,” “Back to the Future,” “Bright Lights, Big City” and “Casualties of War.”

In 1996, Fox starred in the ABC comedy “Spin City” as the deputy mayor of New York. He left the role in 2000 to focus on the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness of Parkinson’s disease and finding a cure.

In the years since, Fox appeared in guest roles in TV shows including “Scrubs” and “Boston Legal” on Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC and “Rescue Me” on News Corp. (NWSA)’s FX cable channel.

Fox has also written three New York Times (NYT) best-sellers, including “Lucky Man: A Memoir” and “Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,” according to NBC.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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