*Until “Treme” returns to HBO in December for its final five episodes, Wendell Pierce fans will have to make do with “The Michael J. Fox Show,” NBC’s family comedy starring Fox as a news anchor (Mike Henry) returning to work following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease.
Pierce plays Mike’s boss Harris Green in the series, which draws much of its humor from making light of Mike’s condition.
Fox, who shot to stardom following his breakthrough series “Family Ties” and the “Back to the Future” films, was diagnosed with the disease in 1991, but didn’t tell the public until 1999, during the fourth season of his ABC series “Spin City.”
After a five year retirement to focus on his health, he returned to television with guest runs on such shows as “Scrubs,” “Boston Legal,” “Rescue Me,” “The Good Wife” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Fox says it was just a matter of time before he returned to a series full time.
“This is what I was built and programmed to do, and so I wanted to do it,” Fox said at the TCA Summer Press Tour. “It’s what I love to do, and what I’ve enjoyed throughout my life, and I just thought why can’t I. I mean, there’s no reason not to do it.
“And in terms of what happened over that hiatus that I took with respect to the guest shots, I just rested. I spent that time with my family during their really formative years and enjoyed that, and I kind of messed with pills and new medications that help me more to deal with dyskinesia and some other things I was struggling with earlier that I don’t have as much now because of medication to counter the side effects. So it just seemed like the right time to do it.”
Although Fox’s Parkinson’s is part of the show’s storyline, it takes a back seat when the cameras stop rolling, according to Pierce. He says the two prefer to spend their time talking shop. Listen below.
“The Michael J. Fox Show” airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC. Watch an interview with Pierce below.