In the opening episode of his new NBC drama, star and exec producer Rob Lowe gets in a jab at “The West Wing,” the hit Peacock show he left earlier this year after a falling out with producers John Wells Prods. and Warner Bros.
“I don’t like politics,” Lowe’s character, do-gooder lawyer Jack Turner, says on the pilot of “Lyon’s Den.”
Lowe, speaking Thursday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour, said the line was no throwaway, and that it was “a knowing wink to the audience that there is a new sheriff in town.”
He lightheartedly challenged the cast of “West Wing” to “a battle of the network stars,” saying the “game” was on.
Lowe said he left “West Wing” because his character, Sam Seaborn, was falling flat in the scripts turned out by show creator Aaron Sorkin, who has since left the series himself. Lowe said he loves his new role precisely because Turner is good at heart yet still flawed.
“In this show, people don’t wear halos,” said Lowe, adding that he still has the utmost respect for Sorkin and Wells. “Let’s just say that Sam had less and less and less to do.”
But talk to “West Wing” producers and they’ll say Lowe wanted too much of the spotlight, considering the show’s an ensemble drama, and too much money.
In the new show, Lowe’s character is the son of a powerful U.S. senator played by Rip Torn. (Show exec producer-writer Remi Aubuchon announced Thursday that Torn will appear every third episode or so but won’t be a regular cast member.) Seems Lowe now will have to answer to Capitol Hill and not the White House.