Michael J. Fox received good news and bad news Thursday as his groundbreaking show, The Michael J Fox Show, was canceled by NBC on the same day he signed on to return to The Good Wife. In Fox’s coveted prime time place, the network will air Hollywood Game Night, a game show hosted by Jane Lynch featuring celebrities playing with non-celebrity teammates.
Although Fox was wildly successful during the 80’s on Family Ties and on Spin City in the 90’s, his new show failed to win a wide following among viewers. During a press tour last month, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt expressed dissatisfaction with the show due to its poor ratings and suggested that the show would have to greatly improve in order to continue on the air.
When The Michael J Fox Show took to the air, it seemed destined to be wildly successful. Fox himself is a popular figure in American culture due to his public battle with and works on behalf of Parkinson’s disease research. He started the Michael J. Fox Foundation to raise money to work for a cure for the degenerative disorder.
Making Fox even more of a beloved American figure is that audiences have watched him grow from a teenager to an adult before their eyes. Along with a successful television career, Fox also starred in the classic movies Teen Wolf and the Back to the Future franchise.
The show won the Critics’ Choice Television Award for Most Exciting New Series last June. The award buzz coupled with Fox’s popularity drew an audience of 7.5 million to the premiere of The Michael J Fox Show. Unfortunately,the ratings dropped quickly and continued to decline. The most recent episode, which was broadcast on January 23, only managed to garner 2.18 million viewers.
Fox had not had a leading role on television since Spin City ended in 2000, which happened to coincide with the escalation in the severity of his Parkinson’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 1991. Before now-canceled The Michael J Fox Show, Fox had only returned to television in small guest roles on shows such as Rescue Me, The Good Wife, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
According to executive producer Alex Reid, NBC wants to air the final seven episodes of The Michael J Fox Show and is planning to find another place in their schedule to air the show. Although an NBC spokesperson told Vulture that the show has not been canceled and that the network is trying to find a place for it on their schedule, fans should not become excited. It is probable that because there are seven more un-aired episodes, NBC will find a place to broadcast those but will order no more.
Even though The Michael J Fox Show has been canceled, it isn’t all bad news for Fox today, who has signed on to return to his role as Louis Canning on The Good Wife. He is scheduled to appear on several episodes toward the end of the season. The Good Wife airs Sundays on CBS.
By Jennifer Pfalz