Denis Leary to Star in 'A Moody Christmas' at Fox

The "anti-holidays" limited series will mark the actor's first regular role on a broadcast series in more than 15 years. Elizabeth Perkins also stars.
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Denis Leary

Denis Leary is coming back to network TV for the first time in more than 15 years.

The actor-writer-producer has landed the lead role in Fox's limited series A Moody Christmas, a six-episode comedy about a tight-knit but slightly dysfunctional family who gathers in Chicago for the holidays. The show, which Fox Entertainment chief Charlie Collier called an "anti-holidays" series, is based on the Australian show of the same name.

Leary (Rescue Me, Animal Kingdom) will play patriarch Sean Moody Sr., who brings his wife and three grown kids to the Windy City for the holidays to be with extended family. All five are hiding secrets from one another, adding to the stress of the season. Elizabeth Perkins (Sharp Objects, Weeds) will play Sean's wife, Ann.  

The role will be Leary's first regular role on a broadcast series since his comedy The Job, which aired on ABC in 2001-02. 

"We have always wanted to work with Denis, whose signature gruffness, sarcasm and, dare I say it, heart, make him the perfect fit for this role," Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn said Tuesday in a statement. "The Moody family nails that indescribable mix of love, loyalty and absolute chaos, and we can't wait to introduce our viewers to them all this holiday season."

Of Perkins, Thorn said, "I can think of no better foil for Denis Leary than Elizabeth. She's got the comedy chops and the gravitas to go toe-to-toe with him in any situation, and I can't wait to see their chemistry ignite on screen."

A Moody Christmas comes from CBS Television Studios, which is co-producing the series with Fox Entertainment. Bob Fisher — who worked with Leary on USA's Sirens and FX's Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll — is writing with Rob Greenberg (Frasier, How I Met Your Mother) and Tad Quill (Scrubs, Bent).

The trio will executive produce with Kim Tannenbaum, Eric Tannenbaum, Australian series creators Trent O'Donnell and Phil Lloyd and Jason Burrows, who exec produced the original series from Jungleboys Entertainment Pty Limited.

A Moody Christmas is another swing for Fox under Collier, who has shown a willingness to take risks on programming like the meta-revival BH90210 and the after-show parody What Just Happened??! It also will give the network an original series to run during a time when most of its regular series will have wrapped up their fall runs.