As you know, it hasn’t been the greatest of years for NBC, the channel that owns this very website you are now reading. But TV is a cyclical business, and all it takes in one big smash hit to turn a network’s fortunes right around. And NBC believes the key to finding that hit lies in hiring… the guy from that one Old Spice commercial. Well, okay. All right. I guess that could work. From Variety via Entertainment Weekly:
Isaiah Mustafa… The star of the memorable Old Spice commercials has closed a talent deal with NBC, which hopes to add him to one of the network’s current or new series, Variety reports.
Mustafa’s previous credits include small parts in shows like NCIS, Ugly Betty, and Castle before he booked the Old Spice ads — one of which aired during the Super Bowl… “What’s funny is no one knew me as being funny before,” Mustafa told EW’s Kate Ward. “Because the only things I had done were these episodics and procedurals where I was kind of this tough guy, prison guard, cop, or FBI guy. So now, people are like, ‘Oh, he’s funny.’ That commercial … really helped me to climb that ladder of success.”
Mustafa told Variety that he just shot another Old Spice commercial, which is set to air in the coming months.
You can watch the original Old Spice ad right here As a former ad man, I can tell you without hyperbole that the ad is brilliant. Utterly brilliant. It’s nine times better than most sitcoms currently on the air. And plenty of superstar actors (and directors, for that matter) got their start by appearing in commercials. Mustafa is excellent in the ad, of course.
But the reason the ad is outstanding is not simply because of the performance. It’s the concept and the writing. The writing is top shelf. And when you hire Mr. Mustafa to appear in your soon-to-be-determined NBC show, you do not get that writing included with him. (Given ABC’s “Cavemen,” you don’t really want ad writers working on your TV shows, anyway). So while it’s nice we’re going to see more of Mustafa, it would help if it came in the context of “Starring in a new show created by Matthew Wiener,” or something totally awesome like that.
No word on if NBC also signed the horse.