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Fox to play newsman in upcoming TV show

On his upcoming NBC comedy, Michael J. Fox will play a newscaster who had to quit his job due to Parkinson’s disease but returns to work in the show’s first episode because a new medical regimen has helped him control many of the disease’s symptoms.

It mirrors the life of the former “Family Ties” and “Spin City” star, who said last year that drugs have helped minimize the physical tics of Parkinson’s and have enabled him to take on more acting jobs.

In the family comedy, Fox’s character will be the father of two teenage children and a younger boy, Jennifer Salke, the network’s entertainment president, said on Sunday. It will be set in New York City, and filmed there, too, she said.

The real-life disease has left Fox an object of pity-fueled admiration, yet Fox “approaches his life and his work with a lot of irreverence,” Salke said.

“It’s a family show that has him dealing with work and office relationships as well as dealing with kind of his public persona, which is very real,” she said. “You see, he gets a standing ovation everywhere he shows up, and the idea that he’s sort of been put up on this pedestal by the country and the world, really. He’s just a regular guy, who gets frustrated, who gets mad at having to sit at home.”

Bardot threatens exile over elephants

Sex symbol-turned-animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot is threatening to join actor Gerard Depardieu in Russian exile unless France halts the scheduled euthanasia of two sick circus elephants.

The 1960s screen diva says authorities have ignored her “numerous proposals” to save Baby and Nepal, a pair of 42-year-old elephants dying of tuberculosis at a Lyon zoo.

In a statement on her foundation’s website Bardot says that if the elephants are killed she will request Russian citizenship “to flee this country that is now just a graveyard for animals.”

This week France was shocked to learn Depardieu, an Academy Award-winner and pillar of French cinema, had received Russian citizenship after he was called “pathetic” by France’s prime minister in a bust-up over the country’s proposed 75 percent income tax for the superrich.

The birthday bunch

Country singer Jack Greene is 83. Keyboardist Paul Revere (Paul Revere and the Raiders) is 75. Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner is 67. Singer Kenny Loggins is 65. Actress Erin Gray is 63. Actor David Caruso is 57. TV personality Katie Couric is 56. Country singer David Lee Murphy is 54. Bassist Kathy Valentine (The Go-Go’s) is 54. Actor Nicolas Cage is 49. Actor-rapper Doug E. Doug is 44. Actor Kevin Rahm (“Judging Amy”) is 43. Country singer John Rich (Big and Rich) is 39. Actress Lauren Cohen (“The Walking Dead”) is 31. Actor Liam Aiken (“Lemony Snicket”) is 23.