Michael J. Fox to Renew Family Ties with ABC
Tue Feb 4, 2:34 AM ET
By Michael Schneider
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - ABC has renewed its family ties with Michael J. Fox, picking up the pilot "Hench at Home," which the ex-"Spin City" star wrote and will executive produce.
Fox, who recently penned the bestselling memoir "Lucky Man," conceived "Hench" as a semi-autobiographical take on a pro hockey player who spends more time with his family after he is forced to retire.
"For me, creating and writing a TV comedy is a different kind of adventure in a familiar setting," Fox said.
If "Hench at Home" gets a series order, it will be produced in New York, where Fox lives with his family. Fox left "Spin City" in 2000 after announcing that he had Parkinson's disease.
"Michael's vision as a father, given the extraordinary life he's led, is so unique and interesting," said Steve McPherson, president of Touchstone TV, the ABC sibling that will produce the series with DreamWorks TV. "When you read this one, you'll see it's a character unlike anything else on the air right now."
Beyond the parenting aspect, "Hench at Home" will delve into what it's like to readjust priorities after you're forced to give up what had been your livelihood. The show's working title is a play on the pilot's lead character, Terry Hench.
"Much like Michael, this character feels lucky," McPherson said. "This is about someone who was a star at one thing and now is doing something else."
The Fox network, meanwhile, picked up a pair of goodies from a White sale Monday, greenlighting two laffers -- one from Mike White and another starring Ron White.
The untitled Ron White project, written by Al Higgins ("Malcolm in the Middle"), follows the exploits of White's character and his girlfriend, who run a pottery factory in Mexico.
Fox had already picked up a pilot for "Cracking Up," which comes from Mike White ("The Good Girl") and "Austin Powers" director Jay Roach. The project revolves around a psychology grad student who moves in with a dysfunctional family. Roach will direct, White will write, both will executive produce.