Reports of the cancellation of NBC's "The Michael J. Fox Show" may be premature.
After New York magazine's Vulture reported Wednesday that the show had been pulled from the Thursday night schedule, not long after production was shut down on its definitely canceled lead-in, "Sean Saves the World," it was widely assumed -- at least on Twitter -- that the show had been axed. (In defense of this assumption, I should say that networks seldom announce that a show is officially canceled. Yet low-rated puppies often do go away to the farm in Hiatusville and are never seen again.)
Not so fast, says Alex Reid, one of the show's executive producers, who called me Thursday because he's trying to get out the word that "we’re not in the same boat as 'Sean Saves the World.' "We've got seven episodes that NBC likes and wants to air.”
One of them will reunite Fox with "Back to the Future" co-star Christopher Lloyd.
Indeed, Vulture's Josef Adalian later updated his report to include an NBC spokesman's comment that the show "is not canceled. We are looking for a place on the schedule after April 3."
Because part of the deal that brought Fox to NBC included a 22-episode guarantee, filming for the entire season was complete before Christmas, though post-production work continues.
“We were told last week that they were going to take us off the Thursdays schedule and they were trying to find a better place for us,” said Reid, who's hoping that one of NBC's midseason comedies, "Growing Up Fisher" and "About a Boy," will take off and provide a better lead-in than "Sean" did. (Speaking of "Sean": Don't worry about Sean Hayes -- he's also producing "Hollywood Game Night," the show that'll be moving to 9 p.m. Thursdays after the Olympics.)
Reid said more recent episodes -- including the ones we haven't seen -- reflect some of the tweaks the show made later in the season to make the show "edgier."
“We did a lot of heartfelt episodes at the beginning and I think when you’ve got a lead actor with Parkinson's, there’s already a lot of heart. So we leaned away from that...You can do super-funny episodes and still not abandon heart because it’s implicit in the premise,” he said.
Reid's particularly disappointed that the episode that aired last week, which originally was to have aired in March and would have included footage of Fox's character at the Olympics in Sochi, "riffing with these athletes," got moved ahead on short notice.
As for the rest, which include Lloyd's appearance and an arc with Brooke Shields that I'm not going to spoil here, “I do believe that these episodes are going to air before the season’s over, and we just want people to know about them and be excited."