ATX TV Honors Michael J. Fox
Small Axe, Ziwe, Faking It make the must-see list
By Richard Whittaker,
1:40PM, Thu. Apr. 22, 2021
Well, we're all in a spin (city, that is). ATX Television Festival has just announced that five-time Emmy and four-time Golden Globe winning actor, producer, activist, and New York Times best-selling author Michael J. Fox will receive its annual Award in Television eXcellence at this year's virtual Tenth Season.
The fest (running June 11-21) describes the award as recognizing "individuals whose career reflects the very best of television, through work that is thought-provoking, genuine, expansive, and ultimately, entertaining," and if Fox doesn't qualify, then who does. From Family Ties to Spin City to Scrubs, Rescue Me, The Good Wife, Boston Legal, Designated Survivor and, of course The Michael J. Fox Show, plus his autobiography, his activism for Parkinson's research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and, oh, I don't know, Back to the Future, it's only fitting he joins a pantheon of prior honorees that includes Henry Winkler, James L. Brooks, Norman Lear, Marcy Carsey, and Phylicia Rashad.
Fox's appearance is just one of the events announced today as part of this year's celebration of all things TV:
• A special look at Amazon Prime Video's anthology series Small Axe, featuring series creator, co-writer, co-editor, director and executive producer Steve McQueen (Hunger, Shame, 12 Years A Slave, Widows) in conversation with Texas' own Channing Godfrey Peoples (Miss Juneteenth).
• A marquee conversation about Ziwe, Showtime's new late-night variety show with writer, comedian, actor, singer, influencer, activist, and host Ziwe.
• A special screening and Q&A of Fox's new animated series HouseBroken, with co-creator/actor/executive producer Clea DuVall (VEEP), executive producer/actor Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe), actors Nat Faxon (Friends From College) and Sam Richardson (VEEP),and co-creators/executive producers Gabrielle Allan (VEEP), and Jennifer Crittenden (VEEP).
• A fifth anniversary re-union for Faking It, MTV's beloved but cancelled rom-com that became landmark TV for Bailey De Young's portrayal of Lauren Cooper, American television's first leading intersex character. The panel will include showrunner/executive producer Carter Covington, and cast members Rita Volk, Katie Stevens, Michael Willett, Yvette Monreal, and Sophia Ali. Additional panelists will be announced soon.
• The season three premiere of comedy series Speech & Debate with writer Kamen Edwards, director Cassandra Jean Amell, and stars Stephen Amell (Arrow), Aisha Tyler (Archer), and John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood).
• Plus, we served our time, so ATX season 10 gives us an Oz retrospective, delayed from the 2020 fest. The original HBO original one hour drama was a true forebear of the golden age of prestige television, and this eagerly-awaited reunion will include series creator/executive producer Tom Fontana, director/actor Terry Kinney, and cast members Lee Tergesen, Dean Winters, Harold Perrineau, and Kirk Acevedo.
The festival also announced its first round of topical panels, including:
• “Beyond the Scares: Emotional Catharsis & Healing in Horror”
• “Growing Up Is Hard: A New Generation of YA Protagonists”
• “Mad as Hell: TV's Dangerous Women”
• “The Queer Gaze”
• “Pandemic Proof: Adult Animation”
• “Showrunner State of the Union”
• “Buying & Selling with 20/20 Hindsight”
If that wasn't enough for the first round of announcements, ATX has also announced a special new partnership with Tubi, Fox's free streaming platform, who will be providing a wide slate of programming and events drawn from its library of 3,000 titles.
Watch out for further announcements, and get tickets and passes, at www.atxfestival.com.
An earlier version of this article credited Carter Covington as creator of Faking It. The Writers Guild of America informs us that, after arbitration, it was ruled that Dana Min Goodman and Julia Wolov should be credited as series creators.