Miami Vice star Don Johnson has signed on to play the lead in A. Mann’s World for NBC. The pilot, which is said to be in the vein of Warren Beatty’s Shampoo is the latest creation from Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King.
A. Mann’s World sees Johnson play a Beverly Hills hair salon owner named Allan Mann, who is struggling to “stay relevant” in his 50s, while trying to expand his business and support three families. The Vampire Diaries' Taylor Kinney will join the 80s fashion icon in the pilot - which will be written, produced, and directed by Michael Patrick King.
While there have been mixed reactions to King’s script, the casting of Johnson in the role is inspired. He was always the front-runner to take the lead in the series, and the character sounds like it will play to all of Johnson’s strengths as an actor - not to mention his off-screen persona.
In recent years the star has been keeping a relatively low profile. In 2005 he starred in the ill-fated Just Legal and last year he had a supporting roles in Machete and When in Rome, as well as the failed pilot Southern Discomfort. In the late eighties and early nineties he had a run as a big screen star with roles in Dead Bang, Guilty As Sin, Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man, Born Yesterday (with ex-wife Melanie Griffith) and the sporting comedy Tin Cup alongside Kevin Costner.
Television has always been Johnson’s true home and to most he’ll always be Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice, or Nash Bridges. Last year Johnson was awarded $51.2 million by a judge, after the star sued three companies, including Rysher Entertainment over the copyright to Nash Bridges, so there must be something about this new show that appeals to him - not just the money.
It’ll be interesting to see how A. Mann’s World pans out. King’s writing can be sharp and witty, but it can also be trite, sometimes sounding like a first draft - not something that has been fully polished. Johnson’s personality and charisma can only go so far, so the script and the supporting cast better be solid. With some luck A. Mann’s World could play like a more mainstream version of Californication, at its worst it could be a total disaster (or maybe even somewhere in the middle like the Sex and The City movies). Fingers crossed.