After 15 months of training, Franco began auditioning in Los Angeles. His first paid role was a television commercial for Pizza Hut, featuring a dancing Elvis Presley (who had died in 1977). He found guest roles on television shows but his first break came in 1999, after he was cast in a leading role on the short-lived but well-reviewed NBC television series Freaks and Geeks, which ran for 18 episodes and was canceled due to low viewership. Later, the show became a cult hit among audiences. He has since described the series as "one of the most fun" work experiences that he has had. In another interview, Franco said: "When we were doing Freaks and Geeks, I didn't quite understand how movies and TV worked, and I would improvise even if the camera wasn't on me . . . So I was improvising a little bit back then, but not in a productive way. " After his film debut Never Been Kissed, he played a popular jock Chris in Whatever It Takes (2000), a modern-day remake of the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac.