A Forgiving NBC Takes Isaiah Washington Into Its Rainbow-Feathered Embrace

Prospects had looked bleak for Grey's Anatomy shitcannee Isaiah Washington, who seemed all but certainly headed for the dinner theater circuit, where the mercurial actor would live out the remainder of his career silencing talkative audience members by climbing down from the stage to personally stuff an olive roll into their mouths. Credit the infectious positivity and counterintuitive vision of NBC co-chairman/rock-star Ben Silverman, then, for seeing in Washington a skilled and appealing actor, where lesser network heads might have merely seen a litany of choking-related lawsuits. Reports USA Today:

Washington will guest-star on the network's high-profile remake of 1970s drama Bionic Woman this fall, and has signed a development deal to star in a potential action drama he pitched to the network for the 2008-09 TV season. [...]

Katherine Pope, president of NBC's Universal Media Studios, says that despite the public baggage, Washington is "a brilliant actor," and she believes viewers will re-embrace him. "I think people watch characters on TV, not personalities" in the news, she says. [...]

The Washington deal marks the first stamp of new NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman, who also is an executive producer of The Office and Ugly Betty.

"He's a totally awesome actor," Silverman says. "He did a great job for Grey's and he's got a fan base." As for Washington's offscreen drama, "He's put that behind him. Let's give him a chance to do what he does."

While we have no doubt Silverman's decision comes from a true place—the party executive probably reasoned there's no workplace hostility that can't be smoothed over by a couple of rounds of Tequila Slammers at the Burbank Chevy's—we're still unconvinced that Washington is completely over his legendary rage issues after one brief stint in fake gayhab. The last thing Bionic Woman needs as it finds its early footing is for Washington to loudly confront Oscar Goldman for showing up to set 15 minutes late, to say nothing of having failed to equip the new Jaime Sommers with the latest in BlueTooth technology.