What could have been! Rob Lowe joked about turning down the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy on the Monday, March 25, episode of “WTF With Marc Maron.”
During the chat, Maron asked Lowe if he regularly turns down roles, to which Lowe responded, “Dude, I turned down Grey’s Anatomy … to play McDreamy.” He added, “That probably cost me $70 million dollars!”
The About Last Night actor explained, “But at the end of the day, I watched it when it came out, and when they started calling the handsome doctor ‘McDreamy,’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s not for me.’”
This isn’t the first time the Lowe has discussed how he turned down the TV role. In his 2011 memoir, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, the sober actor divulged that he was already in talks to star on an upcoming CBS show called Dr. Vegas when he got a call from the ABC producers. “I agreed to meet with the people making Grey’s Anatomy. I had read it and loved it — the writing was crisp, real and very entertaining — and it’s always been a good idea to hear out talented people,” he recalled. “‘We would be thrilled if you would play Dr. Derek Shepherd,’ they said right off the bat. I was torn. Grey’s was a much better script; in fact, there was no comparison.”
Ultimately, he decided on Dr. Vegas, which also starred Amy Adams: “Year after year after year, all of ABC’s new dramas flopped. CBS was on a hot streak that continues to this day. Although Grey’s was a much better script, I chose Dr. Vegas. The odds were just too stacked.” The CBS show ran for just one month until it was canceled in October 2004.
Since then, the actor has had plenty of TV success, playing Robert McCallister in ABC’s Brothers & Sisters from 2006 to 2010, before joining hit shows like Showtime’s Californication from 2011 to 2014 and NBC’s Parks & Rec from 2010 to 2015, where he played Chris Traeger.