NBC has pulled “The Michael J. Fox Show” from its Thursday night lineup after only 15 episodes. The show has struggled to gain ground with viewers, despite relaunching the small screen career of Fox, one of television’s all time most successful sitcom actors. In its final Thursday airing on January 23, the show garnered only a 0.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 2.2 million viewers overall.
“Fox” features its eponymous frontman as Mike Henry, a newscaster who retired to spend more time with his family and tend to his health after learning he had Parkinson’s disease. Five years on, the kids are grown, Mike gets restless, and his family urges him to return to TV. The most recent episode has Mike covering the Olympic games in Sochi (there’s a joke in this someplace having to do with the empty seats at the Olympics and “Fox”’s lack of viewers . . .).
The show received mixed reviews. Entertainment Weekly named it one of the six best shows of the 2013-2014 season, but Mike Hale writing in the New York Times found something “off” about it. “The problem is the feeling that you’re watching a long and expensive public service announcement” about people with Parkinson’s, wrote Hale, noting also that the show seemed preoccupied with making Fox’s character “a saint” rather than funny.
The Jane Lynch-hosted “Hollywood Game Night” will take the spots left by “Fox” and another recent ratings casualty, “Sean Saves the World.”
It had been thought that the network would stick with the show a little longer, given it had already purchased a full 22 episode season, all of which are finished and ready to air. NBC has been cautious to point out, though, that it is not cancelling the show, merely changing its time slot. Even so, the network has not yet revealed when it might air the remaining seven episodes.
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