Rob Lowe Rob Lowe

Here's the low down on Lowe: When it comes to talk of Rob Lowe joining the cast of Two and a Half Men, don't believe the hype.

Lowe is a full-fledged cast member on NBC's Parks and Recreation. That means he has a multi-year agreement to star on the show — which would appear to rule out a sudden move to fill the Charlie Sheen void. "He has a regular series deal," says one network insider. "He's sticking with Parks and Rec."

The Lowe idea has spread fast and wide in recent days, so much that even Sheen is discussing the possibility, telling radio host Dan Patrick that "Rob's an old friend and a brilliant actor. And he's a beautiful man." But sources inside Warner Bros. TV say there's no hot list of potential Sheen replacements just yet (the actor was just fired on Monday). Before there's even a casting, creator Chuck Lorre, the studio and the network will have to decide exactly what direction the show will go.

Lorre could always decide to make the show's new comic lothario a female. Or younger. Or perhaps not a lothario at all.

And even if Lorre does ultimately decide to replace Sheen with a similar type, there's minimal chance that NBC (and its Universal Media Studios production unit) would let Lowe out of his contract to do so. Networks aren't keen on handing their talent directly over to the competition. One network exec theorized that the intense interest in all things Sheen and the rapid-fire nature of the Internet took a musing — the thought that Brat Packer Lowe might make a good replacement — and turned it into a major story with minimal sourcing.

Of course, fueling the idea is the fact that Lowe has a history of getting released from contracts. ABC let Lowe out of his deal on Brothers and Sisters, but the actor had already spent four seasons on the show, and his character had run its course. Lowe also departed The West Wing early, but that was also an issue over his character (which was originally the lead but then demoted to supporting) and his salary. Also, because Parks and Rec hasn't yet been picked up for a fourth season, there's always the slight (though highly unlikely) possibility it doesn't return and Lowe becomes a free agent.

This is Hollywood, and anything is negotiable. If the Parks and Rec producers decided that Lowe's character had hit a brick wall, and perhaps Two and a Half Men producer Warner Bros. TV gave NBC something in exchange, then a deal could be worked out. It would also take a substantial salary from the studio to lure Lowe away from a job that, by all accounts, he's enjoying.

That's a lot to ask in a limited amount of time, as CBS and Warner Bros. TV have to figure out their Two and a Half Men game plan before the end of the season. And in the case of Lowe, the actor is still brand-new to Parks and Recreation, a show that is critically acclaimed and still in its early life. As a result, all involved say the actor is staying put.

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