Art imitates life in Michael J. Fox's new comedy
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Michael J. Fox, the boldest-faced name at the 2013 Television Critics Association Tour, on Saturday brushed aside questions about why he was returning to network TV, and why his new comedy, "The Michael J. Fox Show," makes light of his disability, with a blunt "why not?"
"I don't vet creative instinct -- I just go with it," said the 52-year-old star who's had an active TV career in recent years ("Rescue Me," "The Good Wife," "Boston Legal") but hasn't headlined his own series in well over a decade.
Of his new family sitcom -- about a beloved New York TV anchor who returns to work after a long leave of absence -- he said, "It's a reflection of my experience; it's the way I look at the reality of Parkinson's," which he was first diagnosed with in 1991.
"Sometimes it's frustrating, sometimes it's funny. I need to look at it that way. We all got our own Parkinson's, we all got our own thing. We'll look at it through the filter of that experience."
Asked about his decision to return to series television full time, he said "I got rested, spent time with my family during the formative years and enjoyed that, and kind of messed with pills and a few medications that helped me more able to deal with dyskinesia that I don't have as much now because of the medication to counter the side effects. So it seemed like the right time to do it."
At one point, Fox struggled to locate a reporter who had just asked him a question from out in the darkness of the International Ballroom here, and quipped: "I have Parkinson's; I'll sync up with you sooner or later."
In a separate development Saturday, NBCUniversal Entertainment chief Bob Greenblattt announced that NBC will air a four-hour miniseries based on the life of Hillary Clinton, starring Diane Lane. No airdate yet and no other casting details were given, although Greenblatt said it will probably air before Clinton declares her candidacy, or within two years.
And asked about Jay Leno's resurgent ratings at "Tonight," Greenblatt said, "Fans are going to rally for him in the next six months," adding: "We'd love to [have Leno] stay on at NBC in some capacity . He's got a lot of things to sort through, but nothing would make us happier to have him, a la Bob Hope, still be appearing on the network."