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Fox Dizzy About His Role In ‘Spin City’

John Levesque Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Michael J. Fox’s spin on politicians may not get him invited to Gracie Mansion, but it may give his new show, “Spin City,” enough rpm to reach a comfy orbit on ABC’s Tuesday night schedule.

Of course, a time slot between “Home Improvement” and “NYPD Blue” doesn’t hurt.

In “Spin City,” Fox plays Michael Flaherty, deputy mayor of New York City. It’s similar to his role as White House chief of staff in the film “The American President,” and it’s a character type Fox clearly enjoys.

“You get to play very articulate, very bright, very energetic people with very loose morals,” he said Wednesday. “That’s a lot of fun.”

The show reunites Fox with Gary David Goldberg, creator of “Family Ties,” which ran on NBC from 1982 to ‘89 and made Fox a star, launching him into movies big (“Back to the Future”) and small (“Teen Wolf”). He won’t stop making movies, but Fox said he likes the idea of returning to series TV at this stage in his life.

“I like to do other things, and I hope to keep doing other things,” he said, “but at 35 I realize this is what I love. I just really love doing this. It’s so fun because it’s so risky.”

Fox is aware that ABC expects “Spin City” to buttress an already strong Tuesday lineup, which includes “Roseanne” and “Life’s Work,” a new half-hour show starring “Roseanne” alumnus Michael O’Keefe and stand-up comic Lisa Ann Walter. But he prefers to distance himself from the network spin.

“Whatever the hopes and fears of ABC are, whatever the burden they put on us, I think it really pales in comparison to the hopes and fears that we have about our own work and the pressure that we put on ourselves,” Fox said.

“We’re incredibly demanding of ourselves, and that keeps me busy enough. … If we don’t fully concentrate on the show and do the best job we can, then it’s all moot.”

And while there may always be a little Alex P. Keaton in every Michael J. Fox role, don’t expect Michael Flaherty, deputy mayor, to be the adult version of the conservativebefore-his-time schemer that Fox played on “Family Ties.”

For one thing, Fox said he always figured Alex would end up in jail.

“He’d be eligible for parole right about now,” he said with a laugh.

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