Fall TV Preview
Rob Lowe Code Black

Rob Lowe Joins Code Black as New Regular Amid Season 2 Shakeup

Dr. Vegas is trying his luck at Angels Memorial.

Rob Lowe is joining CBS’ retooled Code Black as the medical drama’s new co-lead, TVLine has learned. The actor, fresh off his one-season run on Fox’s The Grinder, will play Colonel 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 made the MD rounds on CBS back in 2004 as the star of the short-lived dr. vegas.

Lowe’s casting is part of a larger Season 2 overhaul at Code Black, which, as TVLine reported on Friday, is also adding Heroes alum Noah Gray-Cabey, Flesh and Bone star Emily Tyra and One Life to Live alum Nafessa Williams in recurring roles. Lowe & Co. are intended to help fill the void left by departing series regulars Bonnie Somerville (Christa) and Raza Jaffrey (Neal).

Look for Lowe’s Dr. Willis to make his Angels debut in Code Black‘s Season 2 premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 10/9c.

What do you think? Is Lowe just what the doctor ordered? Sneak a peek at him below on his first day of work and then deposit your thoughts in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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44 Comments
  1. wrstlgirl says:

    Wow, that’s some great news!! Super stoked.

  2. Jack says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. While I absolutely love Rob Lowe – he brings ratings and gravitas to any show he is on – I worry that he bores of roles after 2 or 3 years. Still, 2 or 3 years of Rob Lowe on a primetime show are better than none at all.

    • Dave says:

      He brings ratings? The Grinder would like a word.

      • Temperance says:

        Yeah, but the character The Grindr was abominable. I literally could only stand 10 minutes of the show, despite an otherwise excellent cast.

    • mooshki says:

      You really think this show is going to last anywhere near that long? It’s a walking disaster, and I doubt all this shuffling is going to help.

  3. Laura says:

    Are you f-ing kidding me? Don’t get me wrong, I <3 Rob Lowe, I'm a Brat Pack kid and I relish seeing him on a show I like…. but how is bringing in a 52 year old actor going to cater to the so-called 'younger demographic' they were seeking? Isn't that the whole reason they gave for axing Bonnie and Raza? I call BS on the showrunners for this move.

    • Ange says:

      The same thing could be said about Harden.

      • Laura says:

        Harden is the main character, so it’d be difficult to axe her without losing the middle-aged demo who tuned in to see her… but they specifically said that they were getting rid of 2 older characters in favour of promoting 2 younger characters because of appealing to a younger demographic and because of budgetary restraints. Hiring Rob Lowe fixes neither of those problems.

        • Kathy says:

          I agree. I am still disappointed about Christa and Neal leaving. They were go characters and I also loved their chemistry. They let two characters go and now have hired 4 to replace them? How is any of this going to appeal to the younger demographic as they say.

        • James says:

          I guess you missed the news about Boris Kodjoe being upped from recurring to regular for next season.

  4. After this there is is no way CBS can continue to perpetuate the bold faced lie that Bonnie Somerville and Raza Jaffrey were let go for budgetary reasons. Id love to know the story behind why they were fired and why the show was renewed if they planned to bring it back in name only.

    • Kayla says:

      My thoughts exactly!

    • James says:

      Cast turnovers. Hospital dramas have seen characters come and go so it’s simple as that.

    • Megara says:

      Simple – they got rid of two lesser-knowns to replace them with a big name. Cold, hard business decision, no thought about the fans, no thought about the actors. They probably also wanted to get rid of the fan-fave ship so it didn’t overshadow Leanne/New Guy. The whole thing is desperate and disgusting. I can’t believe people are falling for this BS and getting excited about it.

    • ppat says:

      Remember back in May the kool-aid ABC was drinking concerning CASTLE?
      Me thinks, the CBS people found it!!! 😁😋😏

    • EJ386 says:

      This! I loved their characters and Rob Lowe is usually as cheesy as his Grindr Character… this is a bad idea and lying about the reasons makes it so much worse.

  5. Jeanne Walters says:

    So is Kevin Dunn out? I only started watching because of him.

  6. Roxie says:

    Will not be watching when I found out they fired the two best characters and now I know why – Reza is non white and not pretty enough for the producers. He is a far better actor than pretty boy Rob Lowe Quite frankly I’m thoroughly sick of this mentality. They may talk diversity but white is still want they want. …and don’t get me started on their sexism when it comes to women actors being fired bc they are disposable. I’m switching to cable shows and reading more for entertainment. Have had my fill of network crap.

    • Amanda says:

      This x10. They replace Raza by old white man rob Lowe? I’m sure Lowe isn’t cheap. Really bad call.

      • David4 says:

        He ain’t cheap but he brings in the money!

        • Jc says:

          No he doesnt. The show he was on the grindr did terrible and got cancelled after 1 season so he definitely doesnt brings in money but he sure asks for a lot of money.

      • James says:

        Boris Kodjoe have also been promoted to be a series regular so we got a black character in the core canvas.

  7. msstargate says:

    Ok..need to binge watch this now. I saw it a couple times and it was ok…this should make it MUCH better. Now if we could get that West Wing reunion movie!

  8. Frannie says:

    Wasn’t he on the short list to play McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy before Patrick was cast? lol

  9. pammiesioux says:

    I don’t understand why they give us one show with a certain cast and when people like it they change the people in the cast. I like Rob Lowe, he’s good in everything he does but I liked the show the way it was.

    • KLS says:

      Not enough people liked the old cast (poor ratings, barely renewed), so CBS, wanting a medical show, did a revamp. Simple as that.

      • Megara says:

        I agree, KLS, but I think it’s hilarious that they promoted characters most of the fans hated while getting rid of two fan-faves. You’d think it would have worked out better for ratings the other way around, but I guess Neal and Christa would have overshadowed New Guy more than Heather and Campbell would. They also would have cost more, and it would have been more difficult for the writers to fix the Christeal screwup while trying to push new characters forward. The whole thing’s such a mess.

  10. Kathy Tefft-Keller says:

    He’s proven over and over that he’s not comfortable in an ensemble cast. We’ll see how this goes

  11. fiberlicious says:

    Finally, some GOOD casting news!

  12. samaro says:

    From the casting call: Producers are looking for an actor in his late 30s/early 40s to fill the ethnically diverse, series-regular role.
    What happened to that?

  13. Ally Oop says:

    So the loss of Neal and Christa must not have been for budgetary reasons…

    • KLS says:

      Did they say it was budgetary? I remember something about “creative direction”.

    • Megara says:

      No, they were probably told they had to bring in a big name to boost ratings, so they had to get rid of their 2nd and 3rd leads to make room. The budget thing was just speculation, it was never the official reason.

  14. Megara says:

    In answer to the question at the bottom of this article – No.

  15. JMill333 says:

    I like Lowe, but adding him hamstrings the ensemble feel of the show, one of the big draws for me.

    They’re effectively rerendering the show with all the changes, so it’s back to square one as essentially a new show I’ll give a chance for a people of episodes.

    Right now it feels like the odds are less than 50/50 I’ll stick around.

  16. Sarah says:

    This pretty much just proves that everything the EP was trying to sell fans on Twitter after firing Bonnie and Raza was a load of BS, which makes me like the new direction even less. So much for “not casting a co-lead” and the show’s focus being all about the “incoming residents”… A show containing Rob Lowe is always all about Rob Lowe – he sees to that.

  17. lisasride says:

    Good news. Wasn’t sure I would be watching after the other cast members left.

  18. Pat says:

    Well I was upset with them releasing the other two, so with this news of Rob Lowe coming on board, I am really excited.. He has gorgeous eyes.

  19. sunshine says:

    Rob Lowe has a sparkle behind his eyes that the camera catches and audiences like. The problem with this show is it’s always fighting dullness, everyone is drab mostly. This could work.

  20. Linus McKenna says:

    Hope they keep the Leighton brothers.

    • Eric H says:

      They said they’d try to get him as much as possible but he’s the lead on Casual on Hulu so there’s a bit of juggling for scheduling him. That’s the same thing that happened with Kevin Dunn due him also doing Veep.

  21. Sharon says:

    I’m sorry to say I’m not one of those Rob Lowe fans but I will give Code Black a chance. I’ll watch a couple eps and decide then if can handle watching more. I am a Code Black fan. Love Marsha. I’m sorry they may have just ruined Code Black.

  22. Leanne says:

    great addition. I can believe hiring him saves costs tho with the firing of the other two. Grinder was a stupid show but I watched it because of the cast. apparently ratings agree. He will be an asset but I wish the other Bonnie and Raza were coming back. Sometimes when they make moves like this it only hurts where they had a winning show. As they say, DONT FIX WHATS NOT BROKE

  23. Carol C says:

    Happy to see Rob Lowe back on TV, though I’ll miss both The Grinder and Raza Gaffrey, my favourite on CB.