I mean, this is the get. THE get. After an intense bidding war, according to Vulture, NBC has landed rights to Michael J. Fox’s sitcom, a single-camera comedy inspired by his own life. To do so, NBC had to give Michael J. Fox a giant deal and guarantee him something that’s virtually never guaranteed: A commitment to promote the ever-living crap out of it, and a contractual promise to air at least 22 episodes. That’s a fairly big commitment to a show that hasn’t even filmed a pilot. But it’s worth it, and here’s why:
Right now, the only things keeping NBC solvent are The Voice and Sunday Night Football. Remove The Voice from the equation, and the biggest hits on NBC primetime are a sitcom in a creative and ratings tailspin, The Office, and a stale reality show, The Biggest Loser. They just canceled their most watched scripted drama (Harry’s Law, which had dismal ratings in the 18-49 demo), and they’ve pinned their hopes for the 2012-2013 season on a mediocre Matthew Perry sitcom, Go On, and a sh*tballs retarded post-apocalyptic drama, Revolutions. I’ve seen all of NBC’s new sitcom pilots, and Go On is the best one they have (and that’s not saying a whole helluva lot).
To get a network back in the game, you need an anchor. You need a Seinfeld or Modern Family or American Idol or Big Bang Theory, something you can build around. Michael J. Fox’s sitcom can be that anchor. The pilot episode, which won’t air until 2013, is guaranteed huge ratings. If the show is even better than decent, viewers will return.
Why? Because Michael J. Fox, that’s why. Put aside the Parkinson’s, which will of course draw a huge initial crowd based on curiosity alone, and you’ve still got one of the most likable people in show business. How many bad Michael J. Fox movies — Doc Hollywood, The Hard Way, Secret of My Success — have you watched MULTIPLE times simply because of Michael J. Fox’s presence? Like Tom Hanks, he’s got something that very few people have in Hollywood: Our unconditional affection. Combine that with our strong desire for him to succeed, and it almost becomes self-fulfilling.
It doesn’t hurt that, even with Parkinson’s, he’s an incredibly gifted actor, as anyone who has seen him on Scrubs, Boston Legal, Rescue Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or The Good Wife can attest. He’s got five Emmy nominations since his Parkinson’s diagnosis. Emmy voters love him.
This guy is going to kill it, and NBC has finally made a winning decision.