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Former CSI: Miami star Eddie Cibrian will replace Jeff Hephner as the star in the NBC pilot Playboy.
The project, from 20th Century Fox TV, Imagine TV and writer-executive producer Chad Hodge, centers on a Chicago attorney who is also a Keyholder at the glamorous, exclusive Playboy Club.
Cibrian, whose previous TV credits include Third Watch and Chase, joins a cast that already includes Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee and Wes Ramsey.
The decision to replace Hephner, a relative unknown who co-stars in the CW freshman drama Hellcats, comes at the 11th hour.
The pilot, directed by Alan Taylor, is scheduled to begin production next week in Chicago. Cibrian was one of many actors who tested for the part after Broadway star Patrick Wilson passed. Wilson has since taken the lead in CBS’s untitled medical drama from Erin Brokovich writer Susannah Grant.
One source said that while the producers liked Hephner, the network wanted a more recognizable “name.”
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