Rob Lowe is returning to broadcast television.
Months after his Fox comedy The Grinder was canceled after one season, the prolific actor has boarded CBS medical drama Code Black as a series regular, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Lowe will play Col. Ethan Willis, a doctor in the U.S. military’s prestigious combat casualty care research program who has been pulled out of a combat hospital in Afghanistan and embedded at Angels Memorial to teach what the military has learned about combat medicine. His aggressive, rule-breaking style is greeted enthusiastically by Dr. Leanne Rorish (Marcia Gay Harden), but not by all the other doctors. Lowe will make his Code Black debut on the show’s second-season premiere, set for Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Lowe’s casting comes as the CBS drama is rebooting itself for season two in a bid to broaden its reach and draw younger viewers. The show parted ways with season-one regulars Bonnie Somerville and Raza Jaffrey, with neither set to return for what sources say is a 17-episode sophomore season. The series recently added three new faces in recurring roles (Noah Gray-Cabey, Emily Tyra and Nafessa Williams).
For Lowe, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for Fox’s The Grinder, the casting comes nearly two months after he said that he’d have serious reservations about doing a broadcast series again.
“If the show doesn’t get picked up though, I really need to examine what I have to offer on network television in this climate because I do a certain type of show — West Wing, Parks and Recreation, The Grinder — and my sense is that is really no longer where network television lives,” the actor said a week before Fox pulled the plug on The Grinder. Asked specifically if he’d mull working on streaming platforms known for offering talent more creative freedom, Lowe acknowledged he hadn’t started those conversations yet. “But if The Grinder doesn’t come back, I will,” he added. “That’s certainly where I will put my focus.”
Lowe is repped by WME, Brillstein Entertainment and Latham & Watkins.