Don’t Worry: Rob Lowe Isn’t Leaving Your TV Anytime Soon

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MENTAL SAMURAI: Host Rob Lowe. MENTAL SAMURAI will have a special two-hour Season Two premiere on Tuesday, May 25 (8-10 p.m. ET/PT), before making its time-period premiere on Tuesday, June 1 (9-10 p.m. ET/PT) on FOX. © 2021 Fox Media LLC. CR: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

By Ryan A. Berenz

Rob Lowe was about to hit the dust — literally — when we caught up with him on the set of FOX’s 9-1-1: Lone Star. He’s shooting the Season 2 finale, in which a huge dust storm messes with Texas, big time.

But for Lowe and his firefighter character Owen Strand, a little flying dirt is all in a day’s work.

“It’s going to be an adventure. There’s going to be lots of visual effects,” Lowe says. “I know it’s going to be super uncomfortable, but unfortunately, what I’ve found is the more uncomfortable it is to shoot, the better it looks on camera.”

Viewers will see how cool the finale looks when it aired May 24 on FOX.

So far on Lone Star, the first responders of Austin have dealt with a tornado, a wildfire, a solar storm and a volcanic sinkhole. Owen himself has had to fight cancer, countless family and relationship issues, and being the prime suspect in the case of a serial arsonist. How much worse can things get for the guy?

Lowe credits the writers for finding innovative methods of making Owen miserable.

“They do a great job of writing interesting ways to take this traditional series lead part and give it texture that you usually don’t get in a network procedural,” Lowe says. “They keep finding ways to subvert that archetype, and it makes it really fun to play.”

Just as Lone Star ends, Mental Samurai begins again. After a long hiatus, Lowe is back as host for Season 2 of the quiz show/thrill ride starting May 25 on FOX. The pressure is on a new batch of contestants to answer questions and solve puzzles while being spun around the arena by “Ava,” a high-speed, rotating capsule attached to a robotic arm.

Shooting the new season was a dizzying experience on its own. It was supposed to debut last spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change in plans.

“The only place in the world that was open to shoot and had the protocols in place to make it safe was Portugal. And I’d never been. It was a great excuse to go,” Lowe says. “We imported all of our contestants from America. We just moved the entire production over there, and it was surreal and wonderful.”

Portugal has its own iteration of Mental Samurai, and its own Ava that the U.S. production borrowed.

“I think the one over there is a little nicer than our Ava,” Lowe says. “I think she enjoys that amazing Portuguese food.”