Rob Lowe Gets Finger Lickin’ Good Gig: Why The Actor Signed On As KFC’s New Colonel Sanders

Rob Lowe is lookin’ good — finger lickin’ good, that is. Lowe is the latest Hollywood star to step into the perpetually white shoes of Kentucky Fried Chicken icon, Colonel Sanders. Entertainment Weekly posted photos of Lowe’s new commercial gig, which coincides with the launch of the eatery’s new Zinger spicy chicken sandwich.

Lowe goes outside the box for his stint as the KFC founder. Instead of the Colonel’s traditional white, three-piece suit, Rob wears a space suit for a parody of John F. Kennedy’s famous “Moon” speech. In the commercial, Lowe pitches the Zinger launch and its availability as part of the chain’s popular $5 Fill-Up. There are also plans to launch an actual Zinger sandwich into space, although details on that mission haven’t been released yet.

The official KFC Instagram page teased Mission Commander Colonel Sanders and Lowe’s debut as the chicken chain’s famous leader.

“He’s got the face of an angel and the chicken-sandwich salesmanship of a Colonel Sanders. We can’t go wrong,” the chain says of Lowe.

Rob Lowe took to Twitter to explain why he signed on to portray the famous KFC founder.

“Can’t help it,” Lowe tweeted. “I love American icons.”


But Rob Lowe may have another reason for his affection for the role. In a statement posted by Fortune, Lowe revealed he actually met the real Colonel Sanders when he was a young boy during an outing with his grandfather.

“My grandfather was the head of the Ohio chapter of the National Restaurant Association in the 1960s and took me to meet Colonel Harland Sanders when I was a kid,” Rob said. “It was a big deal. I thought this would be a nice homage to both Colonel Sanders and to my grandfather.”

Of course, while this is an especially nostalgic deal for him, this is not the first time Rob Lowe has gone commercial. In the past, Rob showed a whole other side of himself in ads for DirecTV. TV Guide posted video of Lowe’s DirecTV spots, in which the TV heartthrob got downright ugly and, yes, a little creepy.

While Rob looked like his handsome self in the beginning of the ads, the actor also appeared as alternative versions of himself in an effort to illustrate a series of unsavory cable TV subscribers. Lowe’s unattractive looks included a beer belly and a comb-over, and another spot had him playing a creepy pervert with a scruffy goatee, urging viewers not to be like “this Me.”

The ads, which featured Lowe’s tagline, “Don’t be like this me. Get rid of cable and upgrade to DirecTV,” came from Grey New York, but were later pulled after complaints from cable company Comcast and claims that the ads were “misleading.”


While they ultimately stopped the campaign, the satellite company stood by its ads and issued a statement about Rob Lowe and his alter egos.

“(DirecTV) continues to believe that the various Rob Lowe advertisements are so outlandish and exaggerated that no reasonable consumer would believe that the statements being made by the alter ego characters are comparative or need to be substantiated,” the company said in a statement.

The company also revealed that they were in talks with Rob about “doing something else in the future.” But now they may have to wrestle the chicken out of his clutches first.

Rob Lowe is not the first famous face to become a pitchman for KFC. Past Colonel Sanders impersonators include Darrell Hammond, Jim Gaffigan, Vincent Kartheiser, Norm MacDonald, and Billy Zane.

You can see Rob Lowe as the famous Colonel in the video below.

[Image by Rich Polk/Getty Images for The Michaels Companies]