Beverly Hills, Calif. — Despite having a dad as a lawyer and a son in law school, Rob Lowe doesn’t think he has the chops to be an attorney. “I’m actually probably not smart enough to be a lawyer,” he said Thursday at the TCA summer press tour. “I only play them on television.”
Lucky for Lowe, that is literally the character he plays in The Grinder, the Fox comedy premiering Tuesday, Sept. 29. Lowe stars as a popular TV lawyer who, after his show — The Grinder — ends, returns to his hometown of Boise to try to be a real lawyer, much to the dismay of his actual lawyer brother, played by Fred Savage.
“The idea is that this fake TV lawyer is bringing his dramatics to this mundane small town legal world,” said creator and executive producer Jarrad Paul. “It’s bringing this element of Hollywood into this normal world.”
Added Lowe, “He knows nothing about the real law. Let’s be clear, he’s an idiot.”
Lowe said he showed the pilot to an actor friend of his, who didn’t laugh, saying that she was on a Grinder-like show. “We all know what the shows are,” Lowe said. “Really, that trope again? That OMG moment again at that act break? It’s ripe for the pickin’, and we’re going to do some pickin.’”
However, at its core, The Grinder is a sibling rivalry show, Lowe said, with one son who can do no wrong and the other son who struggles for attention. That’s 80% of the story, he said, with the Hollywood and show within a show plots sprinkled in.
“People said, ‘you really can’t do this show without Rob Lowe,’” said executive producer and director Jake Kasdan. “And it’s true.”
Other highlights from the panel included:
— In a response to a question about the show’s title, and whether it might be confused with a sandwich or the dating app, Savage revealed his own idea for a newGrinder app: “We can find Rob Lowe anywhere and have sex with him.”
— William Devane, who plays the father of Lowe and Savage’s characters, said there is a lot more warmth on this show than in previous projects. “In all the time I’ve done 24, I don’t think we hugged anyone,” he said. “Here, I’m hugged to death.”
— There were numerous questions about Lowe’s handsomeness. “All of us were potential love interests for Rob,” Savage said at one point about possible love triangles in the show. Lowe was asked about fellow handsome Fox comedy star John Stamos, to which Stamos, from the back of the room, yelled, “Tell the truth, we've dated for years!”