Rob Lowe leaving 'West Wing'
'No longer a place for Sam Seaborn'
BURBANK, California (CNN) -- Actor Rob Lowe will be leaving NBC's popular TV show "The West Wing" after the end of the coming season because, a top trade magazine reports, he isn't pleased with his salary.
Although an official statement from John Wells Productions and Warner Brothers Television said the move was made "amicably," Daily Variety is reporting that Lowe was disenchanted over the unwillingness of producers to raise his $75,000-an-episode salary, even as they hiked co-star Martin Sheen's pay to $300,000 an episode.
Lowe released a statement saying his role as Sam Seaborn, White House deputy communications director, didn't fit the show anymore. He did not refer to the salary issues raised in the Variety report.
"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.' However, Warner Bros. has allowed me an opportunity to leave the show as I arrived ... grateful for it, happy to have been on it and proud of it. We were a part of television history and I will never forget it."
The popular program is a fictional portrayal of the life and times of a U.S. president and his administration.
Lowe's character is patterned after George Stephanopoulos, who served in the Clinton administration as the senior advisor to the president for policy and strategy and was the communications director of Clinton's '92 campaign. Stephanopoulos eventually left his White House post while Clinton was still in office.
John Wells Productions and Warner Brothers Television released a statement "regretfully" confirming Lowe's departure, which will be in March after the completion of 16 episodes.
"We appreciate his numerous contributions to the success of the series and wish him all the best in his future endeavors," the statement said.
Variety also reported that co-stars Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, John Spencer and Bradley Whitford managed to get their salaries bumped to $70,000 an episode last year after a protracted negotiation.
Lowe, 38, has previously earned an Emmy nomination and two Golden Globe nominations for his role. However, he was overlooked in this year's Emmy bids, which saw nominations for the show's other major cast members.
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