TODAY   |  September 25, 2013

Michael J. Fox: ‘Why not’ do new show?

The legendary actor Michael J. Fox sits down with TODAY’s Willie Geist to talk about his decision to dive back into the spotlight in “The Michael J. Fox Show” and how he’s used his celebrity to become the face of Parkinson’s disease.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> willie geist got to spend time with him on the set.

>> the show titled the michael j. fox show, fox plays a guy going back to work after taking time off to focus on his parkinson 's disease. for fox it's a familiar story line and familiar to me. my father also has parkinsons.

>> reporter: he burst on to our tv sets as alex keaton on family ties . and then road to movie super stardom in back to the movie.

>> i'm looking at it.

>> reporter: now, michael j. fox is making a full time return to television in the nbc comedy the michael j. fox show.

>> the kitchen in family ties was so iconic and where so much of the action happened. do you think about the circle of your sitcom career.

>> yeah. i do all the time. i was a kid on that and then i was a young adult on spin city and now i'm a middle aged father.

>> reporter: more than a decade after spin city and 22 years after his parkinson 's diagnosis he play ace family man and tv anchor returning to work five years after parkinson 's put his career on hold.

>> we love you.

>> thanks man. thanks for man.

>> people are saying this is michael j. fox 's big come back. are you ready to be back in the public eye like this?

>> it's flattering that people give it the attention and on some level people are excited about it. it is weird to have low key for a few years and -- but i was always around doing something.

>> but when you walked off the set from the final episode of spin city given your medical condition i think some people thought maybe we've seen the last of michael j. fox on tv.

>> i thought it was the last.

>> you did?

>> fox began to dip his toe back in the water with a number of guest starring appearances. now he is diving in as a headliner.

>> can i have a personal victory right now? we're starving.

>> what has it been like to have a 14 or 16 hour day? is it more than you thought it would be or less?

>> it's more than i thought it would be but i handled it better than what i thought i would. it's what i do and what i've done for years and what i enjoy doing.

>> reporter: it wasn't always so easy to laugh at his condition.

>> you got your diagnosis when you were 30 years old. young on set parkinsons. you were flying high . family ties , three back to the future movies. it must have flattened you.

>> it came with a prognosis that i would have maybe ten years left to work. that's what was said to me. i was just married and my son was just born and my father just passed away and there was all kinds of stuff going on. it flattened me.

>> for people living with parkinson 's the status quo isn't good enough.

>> reporter: but he picked himself up and became the defiant face of parkinson 's giving strength to the 1 million americans living with the disease. my own father among them.

>> the greatest compliment i can pay you is that when my dad was going through this decision of whether or not to be public with it i could point to you. i could point to miebchael j. fox and say look what he has done with it. he is on television all the time and working every day. this isn't something to shrink from, it's something to walk into. do you even have a sense for the way you have inspired people?

>> well, i don't look at myself as a leader. i took at myself as part of the community. i'm a visible member of the community and if i can let them know you don't have to with draw or pull in. it doesn't have to be life shattering or life ending. just be a new thing that pushes you to a new place. and so like doing this show, it's like why not? why can't i? why can't i?

>> aside from the show, fox is very active working with the michael j. fox foundation for parkins parkinson 's disease. i've been on the board since my dad announced he had parkinson 's a year ago. it will premiere at 9:00 eastern time here on nbc.

>> at his age, he's already a legend but i also -- i think he should be a little bit more embracing of the fact that he has inspired a lot of people.

>> he has inspired an entire community. a million people in america with parkins parkinson 's all inspired by that.

>> thank you very much.

>>> coming up, the voice coach