February 5, 2014

THE SKED: “The Michael J. Fox Show” Is (All But Officially) Done


NBC was desperate to get Michael J. Fox back on its air, so much so that it ordered 22 episodes of his series before a pilot had even been produced.  But viewers had much less interest in Fox’s return, especially in what turned out to be such a pedestrian vehicle, and the show’s only journey was from major disappointment to historic loser.  Today, NBC paid the price, pulling THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW from Thursday nights effective immediately.

This is really the other shoe falling after last week’s yank of SEAN SAVES THE WORLD–after taking a few days to think about it, NBC decided to replace both comedies with more episodes of HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT, which is about as unexciting an hour of programming as there is on the air, but at least has been getting ratings above a 1 (1.5 this past Monday night), which is more than the two sit-coms can claim.

A pair of business notes:  NBC was careful to tell Vulture that Michael J. Fox hasn’t technically been canceled, but that’s likely just to preserve its contractual rights as a matter of policy, not because there’s any real chance of it returning.  Also, unlike Sean Saves the World, Michael J. Fox had produced all 22 episodes of its order, meaning that NBC is still on the hook for the full license fees on the 7 episodes that it hasn’t even aired.  (Those episodes may eventually be burned off, either in season or during the summer, but that hasn’t yet been announced.)

As network executives and commentators clog the media with excitement about “doing away with pilots” and straight-to-series orders over the next few months, keep a few brain cells handy for a memory of The Michael J. Fox Show and how that 22-episode straight to series order worked out.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."