ABC’s 1996 political sitcom, “Spin City,” might have been Lawrence’s debut as a producer, but at the time it was better known as a homecoming for star Michael J. Fox, returning to network TV seven years after the end of the ’80s hit, “Family Ties,” the NBC series that made him a star. Reuniting with his “Family Ties” creator, Gary David Goldberg (who shares a “Created By” credit with Lawrence), Fox stars as Mike Flaherty, the beleaguered deputy mayor of New York City. Every week there’s a new crisis for Mike and his team of City Hall politicos to resolve, many of which are the fault of their own boss, a dimwitted blue-blood mayor played by Barry Bostwick.
While the show mostly lacks the sentimental streak of Lawrence’s later work, its workplace universe bears a strong resemblance to “Scrubs” and “Ted Lasso,” crucibles populated by career obsessives who can only ever find love and understanding from each other. Many of the “Spin City” stars would later show up on “Scrubs,” including Fox, Bostwick, Michael Boatman, Alexander Chaplin, and most notably, Richard Kind as the obnoxious hypochondriac, Harvey Korman.
Fox led the series for four seasons, earning Emmy nominations each year and finally winning for his final season. After publicly disclosing his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis in 2000, Fox stepped away from the daily grind of network television and Charlie Sheen replaced him as deputy mayor Charlie Crawford in the final two seasons.