KFC has named a notoriously bronze celebrity as its new Colonel Sanders and no, it’s not Donald Trump. Actor George Hamilton, 76, will be “the first Colonel Sanders to represent a specific product: Extra Crispy Chicken,” Business Insider reported Thursday.
“Extra Crispy is a huge opportunity for our business,” the fried-chicken chain’s chief marketing officer Kevin Hochman told Business Insider. “Over half of people don’t know that we have more than one recipe.”
The new recipe “is fried to a golden brown. George Hamilton isn’t fried to a golden brown, but he is tanned to a golden brown,” Mr. Hochman quipped.
Mr. Hamilton’s trade mark features, according to the Internet Movie Database, are his “[p]erpetual suntan” and “debonair manner.”
KFC has had three other “Colonel Sanders” pitchmen in the past year, the first being comedian Darrell Hammond. Mr. Hammond’s portrayal wasn’t everyone’s cup of sweet tea, and he was replaced fellow SNL alum Norm MacDonald.
“Colonel Sanders was a very enigmatic personality — not just one person could play him,” a KFC spokesman told the New York Daily News last August, denying that Mr. Hammond was fired. Mr. MacDonald was subsequently replaced by comedian Jim Gaffigan, whose standup routine often involves riffs on fast food.
For his part, Mr. Hammond recently groused about being treated poorly by the chicken chain.
“I felt like a fool,” the Hollywood Reporter quoted Mr. Hammond from a recent appearance on SiriusXM’s “Opie Radio” program.
“I’m really upset someone didn’t tell me that [I would be replaced],” the comedian complained. “To build me up like, you’re going to bring back the Colonel, he’s an American icon … and then there’s five others.”
“Hammond spent time with the Sanders family and read books — which he says KFC sent him — on the restaurant founder in order to portray him as well as possible,” the Hollywood Reporter noted, citing the 60-year old comedian.
For his part, Mr. Hammond’s successor agreed.
“In my opinion, KFC made a big mistake replacing Darrell Hammond. Darrell disappeared into the role, and his Colonel was authentic and perfect,” Mr. MacDonald tweeted on Tuesday.