Rob Lowe Has No Regrets About Rejecting a Major Role Thanks to ‘Parks and Recreation’

Though Parks and Recreation was beginning to find its stride in Season 2, when Rob Lowe and Adam Scott joined during the penultimate episode of the sophomore season, the show really took off. By adding Lowe and Scott to the cast, Parks and Recreation found its emotional heart and introduced two uniquely different types of humor into the world of Pawnee, Indiana.

Rob Lowe on set of Parks and Recreation Season 5
Rob Lowe | Tyler Golden/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Of course, Lowe wasn’t sure how permanent his spot on Parks and Recreation would be when he was first brought on to the show. Though he and Mike Schur (one of the show’s creators) hit it off when they first met, Schur was unsure of how Lowe’s Chris Trager would fit into the world he’d already created. But Schur was willing to give Lowe a trial run and signed him on for six episodes.

How Rob Lowe snagged a permanent spot in the ‘Parks and Recreation’ cast

Thanks to Lowe’s ability to ad-lib a fantastic line of dialogue in the “Flu Season” episode (which was the fourth of the six episodes he was initially contracted to do) Lowe earned himself a permanent spot in the Parks and Recreation cast. The actor managed to stick around until partway through Season 6 when he left the show amicably with Rashida Jones, who played his love interest.

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It’s certainly hard to imagine Pawnee without Chris Trager’s unwavering positivity. But had Lowe said yes to another acting opportunity, he never would have been able to join the Parks and Recreation cast due to scheduling conflicts. Lowe actually rejected a pretty huge part which allowed him to eventually bring Chris Trager to life.

‘The Outsiders’ alum turned down a role in ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Many fans of Lowe might not realize that he was offered the role of Dr. Derek Shepherd aka McDreamy on Shonda Rhimes’ hit TV show, Grey’s Anatomy. But when Lowe turned it down, the part went to Patrick Dempsey. Of course, the show has been wildly successful and is currently in its 17th season with no plans of stopping anytime soon. But even knowing what a success the show became, Lowe still has zero regrets of turning down the part.

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“This is what longevity, experience and recovery give you. There are no accidents,” Lowe shared with Variety about his decision to turn down the role in Grey’s Anatomy. “Whatever decision you come to, if you come to it from the right place, it’s never wrong.” The Parks and Recreation alum continued on to share that the part wasn’t for him. “Me in that part isn’t as interesting as Patrick in that part. “If it’d been me [fans] wouldn’t have called me ‘McDreamy,’ they would have called me Rob Lowe.”

Lowe had no regrets about not playing McDreamy

Lowe also revealed that he was happy he made the decision to turn down the part in Grey’s Anatomy because he wouldn’t have had the chance to do Parks and Rec had he made a different decision. “Had I done Grey’s, I wouldn’t have been in Parks and Recreation” the actor stated. “That alone for me is enough.”