Michael J. Fox is readying a return to prime-time series television, and the broadcast networks are lining up to welcome him back. Vulture hears the iconic star of Family Ties and the Back to the Future trilogy has teamed with director Will Gluck (Easy A) and writer Sam Laybourne (Cougar Town, Arrested Development) on a single-camera comedy project that’s being developed by Sony Pictures Television for a 2013 launch.
We’re still trying to track down plot details, but our sources tell us the show will be inspired by Fox’s own life. All four major network chiefs have heard the pitch, and two industry sources — using phrases such as “feeding frenzy” and “bidding war” — tell us it’s now just a matter of which network will offer the most attractive deal to Fox, Gluck, and Sony. Our spies say the project will, at the very least, get an automatic pilot production commitment; there’s even industry buzz about one network offering to go straight to series, something that hardly ever happens in broadcast TV anymore.
The extraordinary interest isn’t as surprising, since Fox has had two big hit sitcoms and has maintained a strong connection with audiences over three decades (i.e., you’ll never find him in a ‘Child Stars of the Eighties: Where Are They Now’ feature in People magazine). Trying to figure out where the potential Fox show will land is tough, however, since there are compelling reasons for all four of them. Fox has his most recent history with CBS, having appeared in (and gotten himself Emmy-nominated) for multiple episodes of The Good Wife. But he’s also done successful shows for NBC (Family Ties) and ABC (Spin City). As for Rupert Murdoch’s broadcaster, well, c’mon: Fox on Fox practically writes itself.