Spin City

Spin City
Spin City
Spin City - title.jpg
Season 1 intertitle
Format Sitcom
Created by Gary David Goldberg
Bill Lawrence
Starring Michael J. Fox
Barry Bostwick
Richard Kind
Michael Boatman
Alan Ruck
Carla Gugino
Connie Britton
Alexander Chaplin
Victoria Dillard
Jennifer Esposito
Heather Locklear
Charlie Sheen
Lana Parrilla
Theme music composer Shelley Palmer (seasons 1 and 4)
Danny Pelfrey (seasons 5–6)
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 145 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Gary David Goldberg (seasons 1–3, 5–6)
Michael J. Fox (seasons 1–4)
Bill Lawrence (season 3)
David S. Rosenthal
Andy Cadiff (season 4)
Tom Hertz (season 6)
Camera setup Film; Multiple camera
Running time approx. 20 minutes
Production company(s) Ubu Productions
Lottery Hill Entertainment
DreamWorks SKG
Distributor Paramount Domestic Television (2000–2006)
CBS Paramount Domestic Television (2006–2007)
CBS Television Distribution (2007–2009)
Disney-ABC Domestic Television (2009–present)
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480i (SDTV; entire run)
720p (HDTV; season 6)
Original run September 17, 1996 (1996-09-17) – April 30, 2002 (2002-04-30)

Spin City is an American sitcom television series that aired from September 17, 1996 until April 30, 2002 on the ABC network. Created by Gary David Goldberg and Bill Lawrence, the show was based on a fictional local government running New York City, and originally starred Michael J. Fox as Mike Flaherty, the Deputy Mayor of New York. The show was cancelled in 2002 due to low ratings from the 2001–2002 season and a change in target demographics.

In 2000, Paramount Domestic Television (which produced Michael J. Fox's earlier sitcom, Family Ties) began syndicating the series to local stations (Paramount parent Viacom would later buy the show's producer DreamWorks). It and successor companies owned distribution rights until 2009, when DreamWorks became independent again. The syndication rights are held by ABC's syndication arm, Disney-ABC Domestic Television, as Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures began distributing DreamWorks live-action films in 2009.



The series focuses on the Mayor of New York City, Randall Winston (Barry Bostwick), and his staff as they run the city—although the main person in charge is Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox). Mike is excellent at his job, dealing with spin and lies, but not so good with his personal life, which he often neglects. Other members of staff at City Hall include press secretary Paul Lassiter (Richard Kind), the office cheapskate, suck-up, and noted coward, who has a habit of being a loudmouth and is often kept in the dark about things; chief of staff Stuart Bondek (Alan Ruck), who loves the ladies and is often very sexist; and head of minority affairs Carter Heywood (Michael Boatman), a gay black man with a suicidal dog named Rags. Despite their overwhelming personal differences, Stuart and Carter actually become roommates and best friends. Also on the staff are speech writer James Hobert (Alexander Chaplin), who is easily led and quite naive; Mike's secretary Janelle Cooper (Victoria Dillard); and accountant Nikki Faber (Connie Britton). Janelle later becomes the mayor's secretary and Stacy Paterno (Jennifer Esposito) joins the show as Mike's secretary and Paul's arch-enemy. Together this group helps run City Hall, improve the Mayor's image, and cover for his frequent gaffes—while sorting out their personal lives.

At the start of the series, Mike is dating reporter Ashley Schaffer (Carla Gugino). In early promos for the series, this relationship is shown to be the main premise of the show. After just a few episodes into the series, Gugino decided to leave. The nature of Carter and Stuart's relationship became a running gag during the series. The two ended up becoming so close that their friendship was mocked by others, and their arguments sounded so much like husband and wife that a whole episode was dedicated to the notion that the two argued like a married couple. The two ended up meeting an older duo of best friends (one black and one white) that were virtual twins of Carter and Stuart in terms of personality; when it was discovered that the two older versions had become a couple, it ended up scaring Stuart quite a bit. For his part, Stuart tends to be very possessive of his time with Carter, going so far as to be genuinely jealous when Carter spends more and more time with new campaign manager Caitlin (Heather Locklear) [see below]. In spite of all the jokes and innuendo, they prove to be best friends willing to do anything for both their friends and each other.

During the fourth season, Stacy was replaced by James. Her absence was never explained, nor was she mentioned again after James took over her duties.

The later years

In 1998, Michael J. Fox announced that he had Parkinson's disease. As a result, a new character, Caitlin Moore (Heather Locklear) was introduced at the start of the 1999–2000 season to help share Mike's workload. Caitlin was Mayor Winston's campaign manager as he decided to run for Senator, and there was much friction between Mike and Caitlin about who was in charge of the Mayor. Their relationship was more complex than a simple rivalry and there were hints that it would become more than platonic.

In 2000, as his symptoms worsened, Fox announced that he was leaving the show at the end of the season to spend more time with his family and to raise money for awareness of and research into Parkinson's.[1] His character left City Hall at the end of the show's 4th season, taking the blame for an alleged Mafia link that the Mayor unknowingly had.[2] He later moved to Washington, D.C. as an environmental lobbyist, there meeting a senator named Alex P. Keaton (the name of the character Fox played on Family Ties[3]).[2] Executive Producer/co-creator Bill Lawrence also left the show, along with a few cast members and writers/producers.

The remaining producers decided to carry on the series with a new lead. For the show's 5th season, production moved from New York to Los Angeles, and Charlie Sheen as new Deputy Mayor Charlie Crawford, joining Caitlin, Paul, Stuart, Carter, and the Mayor. The characters of Nikki, Janelle and James were not carried over (like Stacy, their absences are presumed to be because the actors felt the show should not go on without Fox), replaced by assistant Angie Ordonez (Lana Parrilla), who likewise left after one season without explanation (Parrilla feeling the character was underused).


Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Spin City.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st September 17, 1996 May 13, 1997 1996–1997 #17[4] 11.7[4]
2nd September 24, 1997 May 20, 1998 1997–1998 #47[5] 11.2[5]
3rd September 22, 1998 May 25, 1999 1998–1999 #28[6] 13.1[6]
4th September 21, 1999 May 24, 2000 1999–2000 #33[7] 12.4[7]
5th October 18, 2000 May 23, 2001 2000–2001 #56[8] 7.1[8]
6th September 25, 2001 April 30, 2002 2001–2002 #78[9] 8.4[9]


Michael J. Fox won one Primetime Emmy, out of four nominations. The show won four Golden Globes (three for Michael J. Fox and one for Charlie Sheen), out of its nine nominations

DVD releases

Shout! Factory has released the first 5 seasons of Spin City on DVD in Region 1, with season 6 being released on December 13, 2011.[10]

DreamWorks released two best-of sets entitled "Michael J. Fox – His All Time Favorites" Vols. 1 and 2 in 2003, both containing eleven episodes. All 22 episodes are taken from the four seasons containing Fox, each starting with a brief interview in which he describes what he likes about the episode. In the 2003 interviews, Fox shows symptoms of his ongoing illness. Both DVD boxes contain bonus material with fund-raising TV commercials for Parkinson's Disease research, starring the Spin City cast.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 24 November 4, 2008
The Complete Second Season 24 April 28, 2009
The Complete Third Season 26 November 3, 2009
The Complete Fourth Season 26 February 15, 2011
The Complete Fifth Season 23 August 16, 2011
The Complete Sixth Season 22 December 13, 2011

See also


External links

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