NBC “mans up” and casts Blair Underwood as our president

Hmm, wonder what gave NBC casting execs the idea to cast Blair Underwood in a show.

Oh yeah — if you drive in Los Angeles, you can’t escape the actor’s disarmingly handsome mug. Especially on billboards urging you to “MAN UP.” Underwood is the spokesperson for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, so he’s better than us too. Do I have a mancrush in a Leslie Moonves/Alex O’Laughlin sort of way? No comment. But I’ll heed his advice, MAN UP and give you the news.

Underwood has signed on to play the president in NBC’s drama pilot “The Event.”

Drama, from scribe Nick Wauters, focuses on a large-scale government cover-up.

Underwood joins previously announced cast members Jason Ritter, Zeljko Ivanek, Ian Anthony Dale, Laura Innes, Scott Patterson and Sarah Roemer.

The thesp has been seen quite a bit on TV as of late, having scored a Golden Globe nomination for his work on HBO’s “In Treatment.”

Underwood’s other recent small screen work includes “Dirty Sexy Money,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Sex and the City.”

The thesp is also no stranger to NBC viewers, having starred in “L.A. Law” early in his career, and more recently in “LAX.”

Underwood’s casting is also notable in that it won’t be notable: The idea of an African American president probably wouldn’t have garnered much attention before Obama (given presidential turns in film and TV by the likes of Morgan Freeman and Dennis Haysbert), and definitely isn’t a head-turning casting post-Obama.

Steve Stark exec produces “The Event,” which comes from Universal Media Studios.

And remember, kids: Blair Underwood. Safe. Easy. Free. (What?)

(Pic from Blair Underwood’s Tweetpic account.)

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