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Michael J. Fox returns with three new projects

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Have you been looking for a ray of light in these gloomy times? We were too, but it’s pretty hard to be in a bad mood now that we know Michael J. Fox will be all over the place this spring. His second memoir, Always Looking Up, arrives on March 31. He’ll appear in five new episodes of FX’s Rescue Me. And he’ll cap it off with the May 7 ABC documentary special Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. Echoing his book — a follow-up to 2002’s Lucky Man — the Parkinson’s patient-turned-activist will examine the nature of hope, traveling everywhere from President Obama’s inauguration to Bhutan, and interviewing everyone from celebrities to monks. (Take that, John Stossel!) ”The special came together before [the nation] bottomed out, but it’s a really powerful topic right now,” says Victoria Dummer, ABC’s senior vice president of alternative series and specials. (Fox was en route to Bhutan and unavailable for comment.) ”He has lived his life in this way and wanted to investigate: Is happiness a choice?” He embodies that spirit even when treading a slightly darker path on the set of racy firefighter drama Rescue Me, where he’ll play the pill-popping, paralyzed paramour of star Denis Leary’s ex starting April 7. ”I don’t want to say the guy is inspirational, but the way he deals with his illness is unbelievable,” gushes exec producer Peter Tolan. ”It’s like he’s not sick. He lives with it and makes it work for him.”

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