The Untold Story of Why Rob Lowe Left West Wing

When Rob Lowe, who was on the cast of The West Wing, suddenly decided to leave the television series, many people were confused in regards to the reasons that brought about the decision. The actor is no doubt a popular face in the political drama series and in fact, a major character during the first season of the show.

The West Wing is one of Lowe’s most notable works as his appearance on the show restored his reputation after he was involved in a sex tape scandal that almost ruined his career. He played the role of Sam Seaborn, the White House Deputy Director of Communications on the NBC political series from 1999 – 2003.

While many viewers of the show felt things were going well, Lowe sadly made a sudden exit from the show in 2003, with an excuse that left much to be desired. His reason was that the show no longer had a place for his character Sam Seaborn, implying that the value of his role was greatly diminished.

But is that really the real reason why Rob Lowe took a leave from the West Wing? Or is there an untold story? Read on to find out more below.

Why Did Rob Lowe Leave West Wing?

Rob Lowe Leave West Wing
Rob Lowe and cast of West Wing Image Source

The West Wing is a political drama series that was aired between 1999 and 2006 by NBC and produced and distributed by Warner Bros. It had a total of 7 seasons and 156 episodes. The plot of the show was centered on the west wing of the White House where the Oval Office is located, hence the name of the show. The west wing area also contains the offices of the senior staff of the president.

The show features an ensemble cast that includes other notable actors and actresses like Martin Sheen, John Spencer, and Allison Janney.

As stated above, Lowe played Sam Seaborn, a White House Deputy Director of Communications. His work on the show was crowned with success when he earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination and two Golden Globe Award nominations for his performance. Unfortunately, he was unable to clinch either of these awards.

The show was designed for Sam to be the main character, at least, that is what he was throughout the first season. But by the time of his exit from the show, his significance has drastically reduced as the president now became the focus of the show.

The Real Reason He Left the TV Series

On 24th July 2002, CNN reported that Rob Lowe will be leaving West Wing. The report went on to quote the actor as saying that his role did not fit in the show again. He was quoted as saying that “as much as it hurts to admit it, it has been increasingly clear, for quite a while, that there was no longer a place for Sam Seaborn on The West Wing.”

Lowe further reiterated that Warner Bros has allowed him to leave the show the same way he had arrived. He added that he was grateful for the opportunity to have made history on the series production.

Despite his statements, there were other reasons as to why Rob left the show. One such reason given was the remuneration he was receiving for the role. According to reports, Lowe was being paid a $75K salary per episode which he was no longer pleased with, especially because his co-star, Martin Sheen, received four times his salary at $300k per episode.

The report went on to state that all talks to raise his salary proved abortive.

Other Roles Before and After Rob Lowe Left The West Wing

As you may already know, Rob Lowe started acting in 1979 as a teen actor. He made his debut in the ABC sitcom, A New Kind Of Family (1979-1980). After some series of successful roles in the early 1980s, he gained wide fame by being a member of the Brat Pack (a nickname given to a group of actors who constantly appeared on the screens in the early 80s).

Ever since that time, the father of two has featured in numerous films and television shows, including The Outsiders (1983), Oxford Blues (1984), Square Dance (1987), Contact (1997), and Mental Samurai (2019), a show he produced and hosts.


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