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'The Michael J. Fox Show': Cast And Creators Discuss NBC's New Comedy At TCA

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MICHAEL J FOX SHOW
NBC

Michael J. Fox joined co-stars Betsy Brandt and Wendell Pierce, and executive producers Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne at the Television Critics Association panel for "The Michael J. Fox Show" on Saturday.

Check out our liveblog below for details on NBC's new comedy and Fox's full-time return to TV.

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Michael J. Fox, Betsy Brandt, Wendell Pierce and executive producers Will Gluck and Sam Laybourne are on hand for the "Michael J. Fox Show" panel at TCA 2013.

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The show premieres Thursday, September 26 with a one-hour premiere at 9 p.m. ET.

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MJF: I don't vet creative instinct, I just go with it. This is a reflection of my experience, and certainly in the pilot it's more prevalent than in subsequent scripts. It's the way I look at life, it's the reality of Parkinson's ... We all get our own bag of hammers, we all get our own Parkinson's, we all get our own [bad] things ... If someone wants to be outraged, they can be outraged, I don't think it's that outrageous.

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Betsy: Pretty effing awesome. It's good to be Betsy Brandt right now. I was really hoping I would get a comedy, this is beyond what I could've come up with ... I didn't want to chase the next "Breaking Bad," because who knows if there'll ever be one? I would have shanked all the other actors who were there to get this. WOULD HAVE, but did not.

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Michael: I'd have to play Doc Brown. [Laughs.] We've done six episodes now. I knew one of two things would happen -- I'd feel atrophy as we went on ... or it would rebuild the [acting] muscles. I'm getting more comfortable every day and every week. A movie, I don't know, I'd take it as it comes.

He doesn't know if he could spend the year doing this and then the summer doing a movie -- "that's how I got into this mess!"

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MJF: Parkinson's, there's nothing horrifying about it to me, it's my life, it's what I deal with. There's nothing, on the surface, horrifying about someone having shaking hands ... That's our reality, we have no control.

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It's designed as a family show, work will be a satellite that they dip into.

Producer Will Gluck: "Anne Heche has been fantastic, we've shot a couple of episodes with her. Early on ... we talked about getting a nemesis for Mike, so without giving away too much, there was a disputed incident that happened in Orlando in the Everglades and she may have used Mike to advance her career."

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Fox: I thought, 'I'm just going to do this like I would do it and let it be what it is.' There wasn't much strategy behind it ... we found the story we wanted to tell and we just told it. The humor was based on the stuff I deal with on a daily basis. That's my wife, she would do that. So it evolved that way, there really weren't any charts.

Gluck: We were startlingly uncalculated about this show. Whenever you're with Mike, he's managing everybody else and how they react around him ... Mike doesn't really care. Episodes coming up will be about Mike who has a unique perspective ... [Parkinson's] is always going to be there but it's not going to be the spotlight.

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Fox says he rested up and spent time with his family, but now "felt like the right time to do it." Guest spots on other shows helped him feel okay about getting back into full-time work.

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Fox: Yes, partly because I'm 52 years old. That's just old -- that's not Parkinson's, that's just being old. The muscle gets strong again, and I so enjoy ... the scripts have been fantastic, they're such a joy to work with, they really capture this unique perspective of this family ... We just fell into the rhythm and all enjoy working with each other so much. It's different from "Spin City" and "Family Ties."

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Gluck: Mike and I got together, we started talking about his experiences ... everything could not have gone smoother. We started talking about the tone, we brought it to NBC, they were on board ... Some of the episodes we're shooting now, there are scenes and episodes that we talked about in our first breakfast together. We're honoring Mike Fox, the family stuff he's going through with his family and his kids, it's funnier than what other families are dealing with.

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Fox: Hopefully. [My wife] Tracy actually did an episode of the show and she was great, it was really funny. She had a lot of scenes with Wendell. He's after all my wives. As characters come up, we'll certainly mine old friendships and old working relationships.

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Gluck: His world can be filled with actual people who are fun to see on TV as well as character actors. We have ideas for Mike's parents coming down the line.

Fox: The idea of making him a local newsman, out there in America, local news anchors have a real place in people's lives. In New York it's especially strong -- it was a way to have a character to be recognizable on the street, but not have him be an actor or an athlete. I mean, actor would be boring and athlete would be impossible.

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Chris Christie will guest star. There's a great set-up where Mike has been kept up for a few days so when Christie comes in, Mike nods off about three seconds into the interview.

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The second time -- I'd just been married, my son had just been born, my father passed away, we did two movies back to back and did the last season of "Family Ties," that was brutal.

Underemployment was when I first came here to LA in 1979, I sold my guitar ... I'm a cautionary tale that didn't end so badly.

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That's a wrap from "The Michael J. Fox Show."

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