NBC was counting on this to be a big winner and the show never delivered. It’s last episode had an audience of just 2.2 million viewers.
The Thursday 9-10 pm Central time slot has years of tradition for NBC. The shows in that hour have included Hill Street Blues, L.A.Law and ER.
NBC was trying something different by placing two new half-hour comedies there. They were starring two names that have a history of success for the network…Fox and Sean Hayes, from Will & Grace fame. Less than six months after premiering, both are now cancelled.
MJF has been a huge hit on network television. His shows “Family Ties” and “Spin City” were big hits for NBC and ABC. He also played a recurring role on CBS’ “The Good Wife”, so Fox has scored on all three of the major networks (I still don’t count Fox).
It wasn’t just NBC that was disappointed by the MJF show. The Parkinson’s community had a lot invested, too.
First off, Fox was returning to full-time work for the first time since leaving “Spin City” more than a decade ago. He was also playing a character that had Parkinson’s, left his job and was attempting to go back to work. A very real case of art imitating real life.
As the face of Parkinson’s Disease, this was suppose to be a good thing. it showed that people with PD can function and live full lives normally.
It spread to sites for other illnesses. Fox is going back to work. Our people can do it, too.
So Michael J. not only was the hope of the Parkinson’s community, other chronic illness communities were riding his coattails.
There was one thing nobody thought would happen. The show didn’t work. Everyone looked at this track record and figured it was a sure thing. They figured wrong.
I watched and reviewed the early shows. I wanted to like it. I wanted it to work. It never did. I gave it five episodes. It just wasn’t funny. One thing a sit-com needs is laughs. They weren’t there.
What did we learn from this television disaster. The show wasn’t cancelled because people wouldn’t accept a lead character with a chronic illness. It was cancelled because it was bad television with few viewers.
NBC wanted this show to succeed desperately. They gave it every chance to be a success. When it failed they treated it just like every other show that fails. No special treatment. That’s all anyone expects.