EXCLUSIVE: The lead in the NBC drama pilot Playboy is being recast.

Third Watch alum Eddie Cibrian has been tapped for the role, replacing Jeff Hephner, who landed the part last week after a marathon of auditions. The decision was made after the pilot’s table read. Sources close to the show say that Hephner, who had never played a major role on a series before, was great in the tests, and the producers love him as an actor, but he didn’t work out in the pilot, whose cast includes Laura Benanti, Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton and David Krumholtz. Cibrian, who was finalist for the Playboy lead, is expected start immediately as the pilot is slated to begin filming in Chicago on Tuesday.

Playboy, from 20th Century Fox TV, Imagine TV and writer/executive producer Chad Hodge, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. It centers on Nick Dalton (Cibrian), described as “the ultimate playboy.” He is an attorney in Chicago and a Keyholder at the glamorous, exclusive club. A fixer who knows how to make problems disappear, he has mysterious ties to the mob. The pilot, directed by Alan Taylor, also co-stars Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee and Wes Ramsey.

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3 years
Happened to me too! I was a lead on a major network pilot, we even shot the...
Anthony
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3 years
I agree with You Know Nothing, 100% Hephner did not "blow it" -- he probably kicked ass....
MCP Alum
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3 years
I graduated from High School with Mr. Cibrian and I have to say that I am happy...

Cibrian, repped by ICM and Steve Sauer, recently co-starred on CSI: Miami for a season and did an arc on NBC’s freshman drama Chase this season.