Ever since last May, when Brothers & Sisters revealed that Sally Field’s philandering ex had produced yet another illegitimate child (this time for real), the hype machine has been in overdrive. What young actor, fans wondered, could possibly boast not only the charisma but the acting chops to go toe to toe with the ABC smash’s heavy hitters? Now that the search has begun in earnest, I’ve seriously started asking myself that same question. The answer I’ve arrived at, with sudden, blazing clarity: Friday Night Lights‘ benched MVP, Scott Porter. Here are five (of a million) reasons why:

1. The character of Ryan is an all-American JFK Jr. type. In other words, a Scott Porter type. Executive producer Monica Breen tells me exclusively that the twentysomething charmer is “not completely sure of his place in this world, because of his very complicated past, but he’s eager to find it and not afraid to fight for it when he does. He’s a born leader.” Kinda like — oh, I don’t know — a certain former Panthers quarterback.

2. FNL‘s decision to sideline Porter after only four episodes this season leaves the leading man tantalizingly free to tackle another meaty role. Like, say — oh, I don’t know — the new bastard on B&S.

3. There’s nothing that Porter can’t do. Drama? FNL — duh. Score! Comedy? Um, did you see him sending up Wham! in Music and Lyrics? Enough said. Even action? Come on, the tension stretched across his face in Speed Racer was the movie’s most authentically special effect.

4. There’s nothing that Porter can’t do well. Brilliantly, in fact. The depth of his commitment to a role is so breathtakingly complete, you can almost forgive him for being so impossibly handsome. (I said almost.)

5. On top of it all, Porter’s one of the good guys — not just a class act but also a bona fide sweetheart. At the Paley Center FNL event I moderated last Spring, he won me over with his impassioned thank-you speech to the viewers whose enthusiasm had helped the series pull off a Hail Mary renewal. Then he won me over all over again when he gamely re-enacted his cheesy dance moves from the “Pop Goes My Heart” music video.

Are you hearing me, B&S? Good. You can thank me later. Readers, you can go ahead and thank me now. Is casting Porter as Ryan the best idea in the history of ideas, or what?

Episode Recaps

Brothers and Sisters
Calista Flockhart and Sally Field star in the teary family ensemble drama
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