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Rob Lowe joins 'Parks and Recreation' as a series regular

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NBC upped Rob Lowe to a series regular on Parks and Recreation –– one of many announcements the network made today during its annual session with the nation’s TV critics. NBC also revealed that Kathy Bates will return for a guest spot on The Office, while Drew Carey will guest star on Community.

In other news, 30 Rock will perform a live episode of the show from New York’s Studio 8H on Oct. 14. And NBC closed a development deal with Peter Berg’s Film 44, which means the network is still committed to rebooting Prime Suspect for a possible midseason berth. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will kick off with a two-hour premiere on Sept. 22, Parenthood will bow on Sept 14, followed by the debut of the Jimmy Smits drama Outlaw on Sept. 15, and The Apprentice will return with a two-hour premiere Sept. 16.

The new drama Law & Order: Los Angeles will bow Sept. 29.

Image credit: John M. Heller/Getty Images

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