EXCLUSIVE: Actor Jeff Hephner just got his big break, landing the lead role in NBC’s drama pilot Playboy. The project, from 20th TV, Imagine TV and writer-executive producer Chad Hodge, is set at the Playboy Club in Chicago in 1963. Hephner went through rigorous auditioning process, beating a number of better known actors for the role, the last major part in the pilot to get cast. And he certainly has the right last name for it that sounds exactly like the  moniker of the king of the Playboy empire, Hugh Hefner.

Playboy centers on Nick Dalton (Hephner), described as “the ultimate playboy.” He is an attorney in Chicago and a Keyholder at the glamorous, exclusive Playboy Club. A fixer who knows how to make problems disappear, he has mysterious ties to the mob. The pilot, directed by Alan Taylor, co-stars Laura Benanti, Amber Heard, Naturi Naughton, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Leah Renee, David Krumholtz and Wes Ramsey. Hephner, repped by Paradigm and the Group Entertainment, is recurring on CW’s Hellcats and has also done arcs on NBC’s Mercy and Fox’s The O.C.