We love the NBC cult-hit Parks & Recreation which features Rob Lowe as a hyper-healthy and super-enthusiastic city manager, so we're always a little concerned when we hear rumors that the show may get canceled.
So, against that backdrop we got a little suspicious when Lowe, just ahead of a Thursday appearance on the Ellen Degeneres show and the Saturday premiere of a Lifetime movie he's starring in, tweeted that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning was going to retire after missing the entire 2011 season.
According to Topsy, Lowe's original message was retweeted nearly 2,000 times, with follow-up messages being retweeted 531 and 322 times (for comparison, on a typical day, Lowe's messages are retweeted in the low-double digits; today's announcement that the paperback version of his autobiography made its debut at number six on the New York Times Bestesellers list got retweeted 16 times).
Sure, Manning and Lowe share the same Hollywood agency, and sure, @RobLowe was the first account Colts owner Jim Irsay followed when he signed up for Twitter. But how did ESPN and the rest of the sports media not see this for what it was: a well-timed public relations stunt?
Manning has been quiet on the retirement rumors so far, but his father Archie, older brother Cooper and agent have all said the series of tweets Lowe sent out Wednesday are unfounded. The tweets started going out around noon pacific time, just in time to fuel east coast drive-time sports talk radio.
"So I was tweeting that I heard this might be in the offing and then you learn the power of Twitter. That's a powerful, powerful medium," Lowe told DeGeneres in a show that was taped Wednesday afternoon.
Powerful enough to help save "Drew Peterson: Untouchable," starring Lowe as the Illinois cop accused of killing his third and fourth wives? The trailer of the movie has already gone viral, but not because of its commanding performances: Vulture said it was "so startlingly ultracampy that it may only be safe to watch through a pinhole, much as one would witness a solar eclipse." Peterson himself reportedly said it was "hilarious" when his attorney played it for him over the phone.
Indianapolis fans, however, weren't taking any chances and immediately began speculating about the depth of the friendship between the former West Wing star and Irsay, and linked to photos of the two to give weight to his footbal authority. Lowe told DeGeneres he hoped "against hope" that it wasn't true but refused to say where he got his information.
"Ellen, I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you."
"Don't do it. I have a birthday coming up," DeGeneres said