For seven seasons (1982-89), they played mom and dad to Fox’s wise-and-political-beyond-his-years Alex P. Keaton on the NBC sitcom “Family Ties.” Both are pleased he’s made a deal with the network for a fall 2013 comedy series based on his experiences as husband (to actress Tracy Pollan), father and individual living with Parkinson’s disease.
“I’m so excited that Michael is doing [weekly] television again,” Baxter tells Zap2it. “I don’t have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in his life, all I can see is that he’s taking this step to participate again on the television stage. And that must mean he’s feeling good and is ready to be creative again, beyond the appearances he’s been making.”
Gross adds, “I’m thrilled that he’s healthy enough to even consider this. One quote I heard was Michael saying something like, ‘Well, what do you expect me to do? Just sit around and get fat?’ I can’t imagine him, with as much energy as he has, sitting around and getting fat under any circumstances. When you’re a performer, you have a hunger for it.”
The “Family Ties” cast regathered to receive the Fan Favorite honor at last year’s TV Land Awards, but the California-based Gross says his personal encounters with Fox now are “few and far-between, because he’s 3,000 miles away, and I don’t get to New York as much as I used to.” Still, Gross acted again (as did Baxter) with Fox during the latter’s run on ABC’s “Spin City.”
Baxter and Gross, who share the same birth date — June 21, 1947 — reunite as on-screen spouses and parents in the Hallmark Channel holiday movie “Naughty or Nice” Saturday, Nov. 24. As their own careers continue, they’re eager to see what Fox does next season, beyond his recurring role on CBS’ “The Good Wife” and his stint on FX’s “Rescue Me” that earned him his fifth Primetime Emmy Award.
“What else could that be but thrilling?,” Baxter reflects. “I mean, he’s such a talented guy. And such a mensch.”