The news that pretty, pretty man and recent Brothers and Sisters refugee Rob Lowe would be joining the cast of NBC’s Amy Poehler–led Parks and Recreation was pretty surprising. Up to now, Lowe’s finest comedic work has been his Robert Wagner impersonation in Austin Powers. But Josef Adalian (soon to be Vulture’s TV reporter!) has gotten to the bottom of the hire: “[NBC] wants Rob to be their Alec Baldwin,” an agent tells Adalian, though not in the funny way so much as in the attractive-to-women way. NBC is hoping Lowe, like Baldwin, can bring in female viewers and attract attention to the show. Michael Schur, the show’s executive producer, explains it saying, “This is like us buying a Super Bowl ad.”
The idea to cast Lowe came from the network, but the writers had already pitched the story line Lowe was hired for. The brat-packer will play one of two auditors (the other is Party Down–defector Adam Scott) hired to fix Pawnee’s budget. He’ll be around for two episodes this season, six next, with the possibility for more.
Schur promises that Lowe will not start to dominate the show. The “goal was to add him to what we’ve already got. (Lowe was) not going to suddenly get half the screen time,” he says. But, he does promise jokes about Lowe’s freakishly good-good looks: “We wrote a line for Amy in Rob’s first episode in which she says that she accidentally looked into his eyes and it was like staring at the sun.”