NBC on Hiring Isaiah Washington: "He Deserves a Second Chance"
Isaiah Washington by Jaime McCarthy/WireImage.com
NBC co-chairman Marc Graboff seemed assured that
wouldn't repeat the mistakes that led ABC to can him from
"If anybody has learned his lesson about the way he reacts around his fellow actors and in the public - you have to be very careful of what you say privately and publicly," Graboff said Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour. "It's a second chance; he deserves a second chance and we're giving it to him. He knows he came this close to losing his career."
Washington will have good reason to be on his best behavior. His five-episode stint on NBC's
is a dry run for a possible drama series that he will develop and star in for the network.
"It's an idea of his," NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman said. "Seeing him in an action environment will hopefully show us what he could do. But as we're in production on
, we may decide whether he should stay longer and if he wants to stay longer." Silverman wouldn't reveal the concept of the new series, which wouldn't show up until fall 2008, but said it would feature Washington in an action role. "He's gone to stuntman school.... He's physically compelling."
Silverman, an acquaintance of Washington's, said he contacted the actor immediately after he was released from his
contract, a decision related to his use of a homophobic slur on the set of the show back in October and then repeated in front of reporters at the Golden Globes in January. -
Reporting by Stephen Battaglio