Eddie Cibrian's short black hair glistens, and his pale gray suit is sharp on a hot summer morning as he talks about his role as Nick Dalton on NBC's Monday series "Playboy Club."
"We were living cool when it was cool," he says of the characters. "I find that very interesting."
The show instantly stirred controversy when a Utah station refused to air the drama about the club's heyday. Many criticized the show, though they hadn't seen it.
In the pilot, Nick, clearly a player, is dating the head bunny, romancing a new bunny and disposing of a body, but it's more of an act of chivalry than homicide.
"We don't know whether he's good or bad," Cibrian says. "He looks like he has everything going for him. He looks like he might have hid bodies before. He might have been a fixer. This will put a strain on his political ambitions."
Set in 1960s Chicago, the drama is ripe for political subplots, mob ties and musical numbers. Since he's been on various TV shows for 20 years, Cibrian's take is that "this one has incredible legs. It feels like it could be on for a long time."
Cibrian, 38, was a child actor in commercials for Coca-Cola, Kudos and Kraft mayonnaise, which was a problem because he hated mayo.
"It was leaving school early and not doing sports," Cibrian says. "I must have gone to 200 auditions, and you hear, 'No, no, no.' I did it for two years, and then I quit until college," he says.
Acting looked awfully good when he was "loading boxes into a UPS truck in the (San Fernando) Valley in 110-degree heat," he says. "There's got to be something better than this."
He went with a girlfriend trying to get signed by an agency. She didn't, but he did.
Favorite movies: "The Color of Money," "Casablanca," "Braveheart"
Favorite authors: Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemingway, Iris Murdoch
Favorite music: David Gray, Ray LaMontagne, (Cibrian's wife) LeAnn RimesCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times