Michael J. Fox of "Family Ties" and "Back To The Future" fame jokes that NBC and producers are "crazy" and made a "leap of faith" when they picked up his new comedy series, which marks the actor's major television return.
The 51-year-old left the ABC sitcom "Spin City" in 2000 to spend more time with his family and focus on finding a cure for Parkinson's disease. He was diagnosed with the ailment in 1991 and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, the largest private funder of Parkinson's disease research worldwide.
NBC announced on August 20 that the network has given a straight-to-series, 22-episode order for a comedy series the actor had pitched that is loosely based on his life. He will play a husband and father of three kids from New York City who tries to deal with family, career and Parkinson's disease. The show will be a single-camera series and will begin filming this year. It is set to premiere in the fall of 2013.
"They're crazy," Fox told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show on Wednesday, after she mentioned that NBC bought the episodes without seeing any scripts. "It's a big leap of faith."
The actor rose to fame in the 1980s, playing young Republican Alex P. Keaton on the NBC sitcom "Family Ties." He later became famous for his role as Marty McFly in the "Back To The Future" movies. After he quit "Spin City," he continued to act sporadically. In 2011, he played himself on an episode of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which earned him his 14th Emmy nomination. On Saturday, at the Creative Arts Emmys, a preliminary ceremony before this Sunday's main event, Fox lost to Jimmy Fallon. He won for an "SNL" guest spot.
Fox won three Emmys for his role on "Family Ties," one for his lead part in "Spin City" and one for a guest spot on the FX series "Rescue Me" in 2009. Since late 2010, Fox has had a recurring role on the CBS series "The Good Wife," for which he was nominated for two Emmys.
"I'm doing a couple more episodes this fall," Fox told DeGeneres.
He also explained why he decided to return to television on a more regular basis.
"I was just sitting around thinking, 'I always say, live in the moment, enjoy the day, make the most of what you have' and I thought, 'Well, I put one day after another where it's like that, why not just do what I love to do and work?'" he said.
The actor told ABC News in May that he had recently returned to acting more regularly as a result of a new drug regimen that helps control his tics.
"Everybody gets their own version of it," Fox told DeGeneres, regarding his Parkinson's disease. "Everybody has the experience in a different way and different meds work for different people and some meds don't work for some and work for others. We're always trying to find that perfect combination, that cocktail, so I think I found it."
Fox, who has 17-year-old twin daughters, a 10-year-old daughter and a 23-year-old son with his wife of 24 years, "Family Ties" co-star Ellen Reed, says he feels "so lucky."
"I've got this beautiful wife and these great kids," he said. "And life is just good."