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Michael J Fox was almost fired from his TV series for a bizarre reason

Michael J Fox became a household name in Back to the Future, but he would've been fired from this TV series if a certain executive had his way in the '80s.

Michael J Fox in Back to the Future

Before traveling around time, Michael J Fox was a hot commodity in television. The Back to the Future star made his break on Family Ties, one of the best comedy series ever, but one producer tried to end his career prematurely.

In an interview with the Television Academy, Fox recalled Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC at the time, not quite seeing the actor’s appeal. “[Tartikoff] really didn’t like me in the role,” Fox starts. “He urged Gary [David Goldberg, creator] quite a few times in the first season to fire me.”

Why such a desire to get rid of one of the best actors? Tartikoff just couldn’t see Fox being a pop culture icon. “He said, ‘Look at that kid, that’s not a face you’re going to see on a lunchbox’,” Fox says. Gary says, ‘ don’t know about lunchboxes, but I give him three jokes he gives me five laughs’.” Well, not long after Family Ties, Fox starred in one of the best ’80s movies ever, and he remains on a face you’ll commonly see on lunchboxes forevermore.

Tartikoff was happy to be wrong, and Fox played a little prank as a way of reminding the executive. “I had a lunchbox made with my picture on it, and it said, ‘Brandon this is for you to put your crow in, love Michael J Fox,” Fox says, smiling. “He said, right to the end he had it right behind his desk.”

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Fox has nothing but admiration for Tartikoff, who spearheaded an entire generation of the best TV series throughout the ’80s. Family Ties, Cheers, Seinfeld, Law and Order, and many more were touched by his oversight. Apparently, he relished being off base, understanding that the business can be unpredictable, and a win’s a win.

Meanwhile, Fox was involved in a trilogy of the best time travel movies ever. Everyone wins, and it’s always nice to hear doubters proven wrong. More recently, he was the subject of a documentary on his life, Still: A Michael J Fox Movie. That can be streamed on Apple TV Plus now.

Check out our lists of the best movies based on a true story and best Netflix documentaries if you’d more true to life filmmaking. Our new on Netflix guide will be handy, as well as our new movies list too.