Realizing that explaining the reason that Isaiah Washington has unexpectedly joined the cast of their new series was, "Because Ben Silverman knew everyone would go apeshit if we put the angry Grey's Anatomy doctor onto our show. And, by golly, Ben was right! People hate that guy!" might get them off on the wrong foot with their new boss, the executive producer of Bionic Woman was more politic in discussing why he was willing to take on the actor's prohibitively heavy baggage. Reports TVWeek.com's TCA blog:
"We believe in second chances," said executive producer Jason Smilovic. "The way to change a problem ... rather than excommunicate somebody, is to allow them to make amends."
When asked if Washington would have been hired if he was a white actor who used the n-word, Smilovic didn't take the bait. "That's a theoretical question that I really can't answer," he said.
Asked if hiring Washington could be perceived as an affront to the gay community, Smilovic said, "absolutely not ... we embrace the gay community ... we hope they will embrace the show ... we are in no way making any judgments about what was said ... this is about making great entertainment."
One critic suggested, since producers are interested in allowing Washington to "make amends," scripting a gay kiss for his character. Smilovic rejected the idea as "breaking down the third, fourth and fifth wall of television."
Even with the kiss scenario momentarily tabled, the producer did allow for the possibility of introducing a more organic redemptive plotline if it didn't rip a hole in the TV-storytelling continuum; in fact, they're already trying to figure out how to integrate a story thread in which Washington's character comes to believe that a cadre of gay hackers has somehow seized control of Jamie Summer's bionic appendages and plans to use their cybernetic slave to destroy his career, a paranoid delusion that, once dispelled, just brings the team closer together.
- No Gay Kiss For 'Bionic' Isaiah [TV Week]
- Previously: A Forgiving NBC Takes Isaiah Washington Into Its Rainbow-Feathered Embrace [Defamer]