Art will indeed imitate life for Michael J. Fox when he returns to sitcom television to play a husband and father-of-three suffering Parkinson's disease, a condition he was diagnosed with in 1991.
According to the New York Daily News, NBC announced yesterday it had picked up 22 episodes of the yet-untitled sitcom without seeing a pilot – a rare move in television. The show is expected to premiere in the fall of 2013.
"I'm extremely pleased to be back at NBC with a great creative team and a great show," the Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor was quoted in US Weekly.
"Bob Greenblatt (chairman of NBC Entertainment) and all the folks at the network have given me a warm welcome home, and I'm excited to get to work."
In a statement, Greenblatt said he was "thrilled" that the 51-year-old actor was returning to the network.
"From the moment we met with Michael to hear his unique point of view about this new show, we were completely captivated and on board. He is utterly relatable, optimistic, and in a class by himself, and I have no doubt that the character he will create . . . will be both recognizable and hilarious."
It is 12 years since Fox left full-time acting, and he said he is looking forward to the challenge.
Entertainment Weekly said Parkinson's disease forced Fox to quit his last regular sitcom, "Spin City," after his Parkinson's diagnosis, saying he needed to devote himself to fighting the disease and working toward a cure.
But in recent years, he had made guest appearances in television shows including "Boston Legal," "Scrubs," "The Good Wife" and "Curb Your Enthusiasm."