Isaiah Washington | News | Television

Isaiah Washington Makes Bionic Leap to NBC

They can rebuild him.

WashingtonNBC is set to announce that Isaiah Washington, whose contract ABC decided not to renew for another season on the hit show Grey's Anatomy following months of controversy after his much-publicized gay slurs, will guest star on the NBC's remake of The Bionic Woman this fall.

USA Today reports that the actor has also designed a development deal with the network "to star in a potential action drama he pitched to the network for the 2008-09 TV season."

Said Katherine Pope, president of NBC's Universal Media Studios: "[Isiaiah Washington is] a brilliant actor...I think people watch characters on TV, not personalities."

Washington has reportedly signed on for "at least five episodes" of Bionic Woman. According to the paper, "he'll play an outsider with a mysterious agenda who is introduced early in the series and may either help the superpowered Jamie (Michelle Ryan, in the role first played by Lindsay Wagner) or take her down."

Washington to return to network TV [tr]

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Isaiah Washington: There's No Rehab for Homophobia [tr]
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  1. Perfect fit! She's the bionic woman and he's got a bionic mouth.

    Posted by: Wayne | Jul 16, 2007 9:25:51 AM

  2. Hey Andy, do you have NBC's contact information for comments on their programming? I'd like to start blasting them the way I did ABC. This is disgusting. I guess I'll be blocking NBC the way I did ABC this past spring. Gotta love that V-chip!!!

    Posted by: Giancarlo Blandon | Jul 16, 2007 9:34:36 AM

  3. CRAP! and I was going to watch the Bionic woman. I am soooo over this man. What did the casting call for: Homophobic, not really good looking, not really sexy, mediocre actor in need of anger managment please apply? Employ someone who is really worth it. Taye Diggs or Blair Underwood someone sexy and good. You never even hear about Cuba Gooding Jr. anymore and he's won an Oscar!
    What was Katherine Pope thinking with a statement like "I think people watch characters on TV, not personalities" are you kidding? I will never watch or support anything of his again. I wish he was worth making all this fuss over.

    Posted by: Dori | Jul 16, 2007 9:37:16 AM

  4. You know what? I don't much care. I really have no interest to follow Isaiah Washington to the ends of the Earth & try to make sure he never has a career again (Heck, I figured he was doing a good enough job of that himself by running his mouth so much). If NBC wants to hire him, then so be it. They're right, after all: As stupid as Washington is, he's is an good actor (totally subjective). there's a large chance that I won't watch the show, but at the same time, I don't care to waste my time tracking his every move.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Posted by: damien | Jul 16, 2007 9:41:50 AM

  5. I would be interested to know to whom I might write to at NBC to let them know my feelings about their hiring of Mr. Washington in light his issues with his using bigoted slurs.

    Then denying using the slur, apologizing for using the slur, disingenuously make amends for the slur by doing a PSA (and, was it anger management?), then again go back to his position of either not really making the slur in the way it was described by witnesses or having made the slur but that he feels we have no right to be offended by its use nor should he have been punished for it, and then blaming others for the fallout of his using the slur, and then claiming that he should be considered a victim in the whole situation.

    Why would they want to know my feelings? Because as someone in the highly coveted demographic of television watchers (outside of the fact that I am a gay man, they should know that with the addition of Mr. Washington to their program, I will no longer be willing to watch "Bionic Woman". As well, NBC is certainly expecting large numbers of gay men to be watching "Bionic Woman", though they may not be willing to make known the consideration of gays in their programing decisions, they should also know that this is an affront and will cause the loss of many of the gay viewers . That the hiring of a man who cannot take responsibility for his disturbing anti-gay behavior, and then rewarding him with another highly visible role is not acceptable to me. That I do watch a program based on characters, not on personalities, but that when an actor's personal life overshadows his role, and when rewards are given for negative actions, I am no longer willing to watch or support said program. Knowing that Mr. Washington has been added to the cast means I will not even be watching the pilot of the Bionic Woman, I would prefer not to get hooked on a show I would later have to stop watching. I am glad to get this information before the show begins airing.

    So does anyone know where I might direct this information?

    Posted by: Critifur | Jul 16, 2007 9:46:43 AM

  6. It's more disheartening to see that NBC, which has the lowest primetime ratings among the top 4 networks, thinks it can pull itself out of the bottom by pulling stunts like this. It shows more desperation for ratings than anything else. They know that by hiring Washington, even if he is a good actor, they are going the cheap way of getting viewers. In effect, it demeans its own programming and insults everyone else involved with a show that could potentially be successful if it didn't resort to cheap ratings pleas.

    Posted by: Brad | Jul 16, 2007 9:52:30 AM

  7. Eh, I wasn't planning on watching anyway.

    Posted by: alby | Jul 16, 2007 10:20:19 AM

  8. Maybe Imus can be hired by NBC, since they are offering safe harbor for bad behavior.

    Posted by: JD | Jul 16, 2007 10:39:54 AM

  9. If I can watch "Birth of a Nation" and appreciate DW Griffith's artistry, and "Gone With the Wind" while adoring my beloved Vivien Leigh, then y'all can Isaiah in "The Bionic Woman." Get over yourselves.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jul 16, 2007 10:42:54 AM

  10. Aside from contacting NBC, which is easy to find, you might drop a line to Universal which is one of the production companies involved.

    David Eick, one of the producers of the new 'Battlestar Galactica,' is also a producer of the new Bionic Woman. But I cannot find any contact info for David Eick Productions.

    I agree with you, this is very disappointing- I was going to watch that show as well. I realize that of all the casts of all TV shows, there are sure to be many people who hate gays, but the difference is that Washington put it out in public, and isn't man enough to truly take responsibility (proven by his recent interviews where he portrays himself as the victim).

    Posted by: shesthemimi | Jul 16, 2007 10:43:16 AM

  11. Such a shame NBC can be so blind and ignorant. Yet another show I will avoid and make sure I set into motion plays that will have others avoid this show. If NBC would undue their contract with Mr. Washington, then of course I would give this show a shot. Until then, never!

    Posted by: johnJohn | Jul 16, 2007 10:53:01 AM

  12. He's a tool and a douchebag, but I guess he needs to make a living... I think it's a little bit of delicious Schadenfreude to realize that Washington is starting down the "special guest star" path that was blazed by Charo and Paul Williams. If there's an enterntainment purgatory, that would most assuredly be it.

    Posted by: Brian | Jul 16, 2007 11:38:29 AM

  13. 5 episodes is quite a guest-starring role. Perhaps it's a showcase for his "in development" action show. Oh, and there is life outside of acting. I just bet Isaiah wouldn't be that good there, either.

    Posted by: woodroad34 | Jul 16, 2007 11:52:49 AM

  14. There are a lot of people out there who don't really care that he is a jerk.

    Posted by: anon ( | Jul 16, 2007 12:05:27 PM

  15. Isn't it possible that they hired him because of his talent? I mean, calling someone a fag doesn't make someone scared (eg: phobic) of those who are queer. It merely means he disagrees with their actions. Isn't that allowed in our society? Compare it to those who are blasphemous against Jesus Christ in so many movies - are those people Christ-ophobic?

    Posted by: Confused | Jul 16, 2007 12:10:34 PM

  16. I'm so happy for Isaiah!
    He'll be great on the bionic woman, and hopefully his development deal takes off as well.

    The INSANE reaction by people on this site to his calling someone a faggot is way out of bounds. You would think he was a one man anti gay terror squad. He apologized, so get the fuck over it.

    Writing letters to networks, and starting campaigns to destroy his career smacs of racism. Any casual reader of this site will son discover that black = evil homophobe on this site.

    Posted by: michael | Jul 16, 2007 12:21:34 PM

  17. You guys are really intolerant. This guy has a family to take of, his job is being an actor. What do you want to happen? Do you want him blacklisted and shunned from Hollywood? If you don't like him, don't watch his shows, but plotting and planning his downfall is stupid.

    Posted by: Tom | Jul 16, 2007 12:30:38 PM

  18. Racism? Washington's race has been a nonissue, and to even bring it up at this point in the dialogue is to scrape the bottom of the barrel to support your own argument.

    Nobody can expect gay viewers to want to support him at all after what he said and did. He only apologized because he was forced to. I think at this point, people are more upset at NBC for supporting him (and thereby condoning his actions). He is obviously just trying to get on with his life and no one can blame him for that. But I'm not watching.

    Posted by: Brad | Jul 16, 2007 12:31:21 PM

  19. Let him do the job, maybe he'll not have anymore than 5 episodes and we'll not have to worry about it.

    I'm not watching because of him and I'll only continue to watch it if it's a bad series.

    I'm hoping it's gonna be a good one.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 16, 2007 12:49:10 PM

  20. Let’s see, where to begin...

    The only thing I can say is that I can only imagine you were facetious when trying to compare two epically historic films (even if horribly racist), with what will possibly be a mildly entertaining, and culturally limited sci-fi show (that guest-stars a bigoted performer)

    Well obviously. In fact the majority of Americans probably do not care about Mr. Washington in any way. As they do not care about many things I may find important. If I can care and other people care, and we all make our voices known, we can effect change. I usually do this with political issues, but this issue with Mr. Washington, can make changes to the cultural landscape. In what is acceptable and not. It means people might make better choices in the future.

    I suspect he was hired for a myriad of reasons, one of them being his talent. As I said, I believe that in this case his talent is overshadowed by his voicing his bigotry and not taking responsibility for it. Calling someone a fag does not mean they are scared, that is correct, it means they HATE. You are using a variation of the classic Christian rhetoric, "hate the sin and not the sinner", which is in itself a deception by many who use it, to mask hatred, realized or not. One may not justify using "fag" in a professional situation and all that followed. As well, comparing blasphemy to using a slur is a bit of apples to oranges. I also do not believe anyone would say they are Christ phobic. One may not believe in him at all, or do not subscribe to his beliefs, but I know of no one who is afraid of (or hate) Christ, or of his teachings. I am personally Christian phobic; I do fear many in the various Christian churches, and the ways by which the Christians and church tries to impose its views of the rest of society with negative results. All in the name of one who would have never judged so harshly, and if God, would be so far above it all to care how love manifests itself.

    Posted by: Critifur | Jul 16, 2007 1:01:52 PM

  21. Oops, ANON(GMAIL.COM), that should have read: If I can care and other people care, and we all make our voices known, we can AFFECT change.

    sorry Nana...

    Posted by: Critifur | Jul 16, 2007 1:11:19 PM

  22. I do not agree with IW using that dispicable word but I can't understand the lenght that some people will go to to destroy him. Writing letters to stop him from being hired is just as hateful as the word you so detest. He was wrong and he paid the price. Leave him alone. Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone. We have all, at some point in our lives said and done things that we regret. We're not perfect. For all those who wish to rob him of a job, look deep inside your heart and you might find that you too have slipped up at least once. Forgive and move on. Life is too short.

    Posted by: Jan | Jul 16, 2007 1:18:26 PM

  23. Tom, you say he has a family to take care of? Well, so do a lot of other people who are kind, caring and concerned citizens. I have watched the recent interviews with this attitude slinging dog and I still question if he could qualify to work entry level customer service. I do not see any acting talent, just a jackass with an attitude of entitlement from hell. How apropos that they chose the clip for Larry King where he tells another doctor on his last show that he can only address him as "Doctor" and not by his first name, which has and will forever escape me. I don't want to ever see this idiot again. His bad act simply empowers other minorities to dish the same attitude in everyday life. And we certainly have more of those than we need walking around right now.

    Posted by: Johnny Lane | Jul 16, 2007 1:48:24 PM

  24. Dunno... after rightfully being called out -the dude apologized was then publicly humiliated , did a psa, went into anger rehab and YET was still fired from a leading role on the most popular show on tv which one can only assume lead to a dramatic drop in his income - seems to me he's paid for calling Knight a faggot to Dempsey - I am ready to move on - who am I to say anyone is beyond redemption, forgiveness, or the ability to earn a living for their family doing what they love to do.

    Given some of the racially/culturally/ clueless things that are posted on this board imagine what were to happen if we were somehow to find ourselves held to the same standard?

    Forgiving is not forgetting and Washington, who as a working black actor in Hollywood was already on permanent probation, will be closely watched - I for one hope he's learned his lesson though I never actually thought he was a homophobe - crazy, arrogant and perhaps unstable yes, but not a homophobe.

    Btw the comparisons to Imus are bogus - Imus's racial shock jocking spanned four decades ...

    Posted by: Giovanni | Jul 16, 2007 1:53:54 PM

  25. Bull- refusing to support a show with Washington doesn't make me a racist, what complete garbage. That diminishes the people who have actually suffered from homophobia AND racism.

    You guys act like Washington called TR Knight a faggot and it stopped at that. He used the word again in public, and his recent inteviews make it comepletely clear that his subsequent apologies were false, done only to keep his job.
    He's obviously not a one-man anti-gay death squad, ridiculous overstatements like that don't further the debate. But why should he get away with his behavior? And why should I support him knowing that he said what he said?

    Posted by: shesthemimi | Jul 16, 2007 2:10:25 PM

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