BEN HARPER , LANCE ARMSTRONG, BONNIE HUNT, BILL MURRAY, TRACY POLLAN JOIN MICHAEL J. FOX IN HIS INSPIRING ABC SPECIAL EXPLORING HOPE AND OPTIMISM,
“MICHAEL J. FOX: ADVENTURES OF AN INCURABLE OPTIMIST,” THURSDAY, MAY 7
Grammy Award winner Ben Harper, seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, talk show host/actress Bonnie Hunt, actor Bill Murray, and actress Tracy Pollan are among those joining Michael J. Fox as he travels across the globe to explore the enduring strength of hope and optimism, returning triumphantly to the ABC Television Network for a one-hour primetime special, “Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,” THURSDAY, MAY 7 (10:02-11:00 p.m., ET). The same indomitable spirit, amazing enthusiasm and warmth that made Fox a fan favorite on ABC’s “Spin City,” NBC’s “Family Ties” and the blockbuster “Back to the Future” movies are evident during his conversations with Armstrong, Hunt, Murray, Pollan and Harper.
Fox travels to Austin, Texas to pay a visit to Armstrong, where the two friends talk about overcoming adversity and how their life-altering challenges have made them who they are. Fox gets a look at Armstrong’s vintage car and those seven yellow Tour de France champion jerseys.
He also meets up with long-time Cubs fan Hunt (“The Bonnie Hunt Show”) at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. She is wry about how she remains optimistic when the baseball team she roots for hasn’t won the World Series in a century. Then on game-day, Fox goes one-on-one with Cubs manager Lou Piniella, pitcher Ryan Dempster and center fielder Reed Johnson to understand how the team stays focused and confident, handling the pressure of their “historic” record. In a surprise, Cubs fans are treated to Fox serenading them with “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.
On the fairway with his golfing buddy, Bill Murray, Fox, who took up the game after his Parkinson’s diagnosis, discovers how to stay optimistic about a challenging game that doesn’t come easy to anyone. And Grammy Award-winning musician Ben Harper and Fox have an opportunity to jam together and discuss the effect of music on mood.
Viewers also get a touching look at Fox’s at-home life with his wife, Tracy, including her humorous perspective on living with an “incurable optimist.”
During this entertaining, uplifting and poignant one-hour telecast, Fox talks to everyday people as well, venturing from President Barack Obama’s inauguration in Washington to the secluded Himalayan nation of Bhutan, considered by many to be “the happiest country on earth.” He also meets doctors and scientists who share lively insight on the cutting edge science that’s helping us better understand the nature of optimism in all of us.
Fox introduces his audience to people – from newspaper vendors to dairy farmers – who haven’t let difficulties stand in the way of their happiness. He himself says the past 10 years, dealing with Parkinson’s disease and setting up The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the world’s largest non-profit funder of Parkinson’s research, have been among his happiest and his best.
In 1998 Fox publicly revealed that he had been diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease and, two years later, made the difficult decision to walk away from a highly successful acting career. His triumphant spirit and positive attitude, considering his daily fight against the symptoms of a complex and incurable neurological syndrome, may make you wonder: How does he remain an “incurable optimist”?
Fox, whose new bestselling memoir of his last ten years, Always Looking Up, was published on March 31, also authored the bestseller “Lucky Man,” which was published in 2002. Both books are from Hyperion.
Michael J. Fox, Nelle Fortenberry and Rudy Bednar are executive producers of “Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,” a collaboration between Northern Fox Productions and Lincoln Square Productions.
“Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist,” is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC’s selected HDTV format, with stereo sound. A TV parental guideline will be posted closer to airdate.
“Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist” will be available on ABC.com the day after airing on the network for users to watch online.