Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan is returning to television for an FX pilot, his first recurring role on a show since his devastating 2014 car crash.
Us Weekly reports Morgan, 47, will play a former convict trying to get his life on track after serving time in prison. The following is according to the pitch of the show.
“A career criminal (Morgan) is released from prison after 15 long years, hoping to reintegrate into a society that long ago left him behind. Now a man whose only expertise is making grilled cheese with an iron must navigate a modern world of political correctness, Internet, and self-driving cars.”
The pilot, written by Jordan Peele, star of Key and Peele, and John Carcieri, producer of Eastbound & Down, was announced on January 16 at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena, California.
FX network executive Nick Grad released a statement at the winter press tour, indicating that Peel will not only help write the pilot, but stars in the show alongside Morgan.
“What an unbeatable combination — Tracy Morgan and Jordan Peele — two exceptional comics joining forces with a great team of writers and producers to create and produce this pilot for FX Networks. We’ve been committed to Tracy from the start and are thrilled that Jordan, John, Eric and Joel are joining him in developing this new project.”
— Shadow And Act (@shadowandact) January 17, 2016
Entertainment Weekly (EW) reports that Morgan was working on a new FXX comedy series in 2014, but the show was sidelined after the actor was critically injured in a car accident. Morgan, riding passenger in a Mercedes Sprinter on June 7, 2014, was caught in the middle of a chain-reaction, six-vehicle crash that occurred in New Jersey.
Morgan was flown to New Brunswick’s Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition after his nose, leg, femur, and numerous ribs were broken. He was in a coma for around two weeks. After his release from the hospital, he continued treatment at a rehabilitation center until July, 2014.
In October, 2014, Morgan’s rep. indicated that the actor was continuing treatment via outpatient rehab, and sometimes needed a wheelchair to get around when the pain got too severe.
The former 30 Rock actor also suffered a traumatic brain injury, which required long-term cognitive, physical, speech, and vocational therapy. In 2015, he appeared on the Today show with Matt Laur, and revealed that he’s slowly healing, but still has to deal with “bad” days.
“There are times where I have my good day and my bad days, where I forget things. There are times where I get the headaches, and the nosebleeds. I won’t even let my lady know because I don’t want her to be worried about it.”
Morgan was clearly humbled by the accident. The actor admitted to Lauer that he felt lucky to be alive, especially after his friend, comic James McNair, lost his life in the accident.
“I can’t believe I’m here. I can’t believe I’m in front of you. I can’t believe I’m just here, and just seeing the tragedy that happened. It touches me.”
FX executives know a star when they see one, and despite Morgan’s accident, they released a public statement that said they would wait as long as it took for Morgan to recover to start working with him again. Although he won’t be working on the show he started in 2014, he was offered the new show in its place.
“At the point when Tracy has recovered and decides that he is ready to go back to work, his show will be waiting for him.”
Currently, Morgan is headlining the national comedy tour, Picking Up the Pieces, which runs until May 28. He also just wrapped up work on the film, Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said?. Tracy Morgan stars as Redd Foxx in the film, which also stars Kate Hudson, Mike Epps, Eddie Murphy, and Oprah Winfrey.
[Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images]