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‘Spin City’: Surprising Behind-the-Scenes Facts About the Show and the Cast

Plus, find out who won Emmy awards for their role! 

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Spin City graced TV screens during the late 1990s and early 2000s and was created by Gary David Goldberg and Bill Lawrence. Gary David Goldberg, known for his work on Family Ties, and Bill Lawrence, later renowned for Scrubs, combined their talent resulting in a series that seamlessly blended comedy with insightful social commentary. With Goldberg’s knack for heartfelt storytelling and Lawrence’s sharp wit, Spin City struck a perfect balance between humor and substance, making it a standout in the realm of television sitcoms.

Related: ‘Family Ties’ Cast Then and Now — You Won’t Believe How Much They’ve Changed!

This drama comedy captured the hearts of audiences with its witty humor, engaging characters, and sharp commentary on city politics. Running from 1996 to 2002, Spin City became a staple of American television, earning critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base.

The ‘Spin City’ castMoviestillsDB

The show revolved around the inner workings of the fictional New York City mayor’s office, focusing on the personal and professional lives of the staff members responsible for running the city. The series combined workplace comedy with political satire, providing a humorous take on the challenges and absurdities of government administration. At the center of it all is the charming and witty deputy mayor, played by Michael J. Fox in the show’s early seasons, and later by Charlie Sheen.

Michael J. Fox as Mike Flaherty in Spin City

Michael J. Fox as Mike Flaherty (Spin City)
1999/2024 Getty

Born June 9, 1961, in Edmonton, Canada, Michael J. Fox had already achieved fame and acclaim for his roles in much-loved films like Back to the Future and TV series like Family Ties, where he portrayed the endearing character of Alex P. Keaton.

Fox was an instant hit in the Spin City series. Unfortunately, he had to leave the show due to medical reasons.  

He was diagnosed in 1991 with Parkinson’s disease and remains active in the entertainment industry advocating for Parkinson’s research.

Michael J. Fox in ‘Spin City’MoviestillsDB

Did you know? One of the most surprising casting choices in Spin City was the selection of Michael J. Fox as Deputy Mayor Michael Flaherty. Initially, the role was written for a much older actor, but Fox’s audition impressed the creators so much that they rewrote the character to fit him. Fox’s portrayal of Flaherty became synonymous with the show’s success.

Related: Michael J Fox Movies: The Celebrated Star’s 10 Most Iconic Roles, Ranked

Charlie Sheen as Charlie Crawford

Charlie Sheen as Charlie Crawford (Spin City)
2001/2023 Getty

Born September 3, 1965, in New York City, Charlie Sheen replaced Michael J. Fox in the last several seasons of Spin City.

Charlie Sheen is the son of the famous actor Martin Sheen and he followed his father into the business. Charlie Sheen starred in a slew of successful films such as Red Dawn (1984), Platoon (1986), Wall Street (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), Young Guns (1988), The Rookie (1990), The Three Musketeers (1993), and The Arrival (1996).

Then he replaced Michael J. Fox as the star of Spin City, and Sheen was nominated for a Golden Globe award for his portrayal of Charlie Crawford.

He then starred as Charlie Harper on the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men (2003–2011), for which he received multiple Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominations. He also played the role of Dr. Charles “Charlie” Goodson on the FX series Anger Management (2012–14).

Most recently he’s made guest appearances on the 2023 TV series Bookie.

Did you know? Behind the witty banter and comedic hijinks of Spin City’s scripts lay a treasure trove of surprising details and clever references. For instance, many of the storylines and jokes were inspired by real-life political events and scandals, providing a satirical commentary on the inner workings of government. Writers often drew inspiration from current events to keep the show fresh and relevant to audiences.

Related: ‘The West Wing’ Characters: See Where President Barlet and His Cabinet Are Today

Heather Locklear as Caitlin Moore in Spin City

Heather Locklear as Caitlin Moore (Spin City)
2001/2021 Getty

Born September 25, 1961, in Los Angeles, California, Heather Locklear rose to prominence in the 1980s with her role as Sammy Jo Carrington on the popular soap opera Dynasty. She also starred in T.J. Hooker. She then became a hit for her role playing Amanda Woodward on the drama series Melrose Place, where she was nominated for three Golden Globe awards. (Click through for ‘Melrose Place’ Cast Then and Now: Catch Up With the Stars of the Hit ’90s Drama)

On Spin City, Locklear portrayed Caitlin Moore, the intelligent and ambitious City Hall consultant who brought a new dynamic to the mayor’s office. She was nominated for two Golden Globe awards for her role.

Most recently Locklear played the title role in the TV movie Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Kristine Carlson Story (2021).

She has been married twice to high-profile musicians Tommy Lee (from 1986 to 1993) and Richie Sambora (from 1994 to 2007).

Did you know? The fast-paced nature of television production meant that Spin City episodes were often filmed on tight schedules, leaving little room for error. Actors had to quickly memorize lines and blocking, sometimes filming multiple scenes in a single day. Despite the pressure, the cast and crew maintained a supportive and collaborative atmosphere on set, fostering a sense of camaraderie that translated into the show’s on-screen chemistry.

Related: Original ‘Dynasty’ Cast: See the Stars of the Hit 80s Soap Opera Then and Now

Richard Kind as Paul Lassiter

Richard Kind as Paul Lassiter
2000/2023 Getty

Born November 22, 1956, in Trenton, New Jersey, Richard Kind portrayed Paul Lassiter, the quirky press secretary whose antics often provided comic relief amidst the chaos of City Hall. Prior to Spin City, Lassiter hit fame in his role as Dr. Mark Devanowin in Mad About You.

After Spin City, Kind continued to get meaty roles in popular shows like the HBO series Luck (2011) the Amazon Original Series Red Oaks (2014) and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

He’s also been in many movies including the The Visitor (2007), The Station Agent (2003) and Argo (2012).

He has done extensive voice work including playing the role of Molt in A Bug’s Life (1998), the voice of Van in Cars (2006) and the part of Bing Bong in Inside Out (2015).

Most recently he played the voice of Cheezel in Mickey Mouse Funhouse (2021-2024).

Related: ‘The All-New Mickey Mouse Club’: See Superstars Like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Keri Russell Then And Now

Barry Bostwick as The Mayor in Spin City

Barry Bostwick as The Mayor
1999/2019 Getty

Born February 24, 1945, Barry Bostwick has a long and varied career in film, television, and theater. He was in 1975’s Rocky Horror Picture Show and also had guest roles on several shows including Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-O, and Dads.

After playing the role of The Mayor on Spin City, he had guest appearances in several shows including Will and Grace, Glee and Hot in Cleveland. Most recently he was in 2023’s Outlaw Johnny Black.

Did you know? The set of Spin City was meticulously designed to replicate the bustling environment of a New York City mayor’s office. However, what audiences may not have known is that the exterior shots of the city hall building were actually filmed at New York City Hall itself. This added an authentic touch to the series and allowed for seamless transitions between interior and exterior scenes.

Related: Original ‘Hawaii Five-O’ Cast: Secrets About the Detectives in Paradise

Alan Ruck as Stuart Bondek

Alan Ruck as Stuart Bondek
2001/2024 Getty

Born in July 1, 1956, in Cleveland, Ohio, Alan Ruck played Stuart Bondek, the witty and sometimes devious Deputy Mayor’s Chief of Staff, whose schemes and shenanigans kept viewers entertained.

MUST-READ: Alan Ruck: A Look at His Long and Quirky Career, From ‘Ferris Bueller’ to ‘Succession’

Ruck had already made a name for himself in Hollywood before joining the cast of Spin City, with memorable roles in films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

After Spin City, Ruck continued to find success in both film and television, with roles in various projects that highlighted his versatility as an actor. Most recently, he appeared in the hit series Succession as Connor Roy. 

Related: Mad About You Cast’: Where Are They Now?


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