NBC Kicks Off Fall Cancellations As "Playboy Club" Closes Its Doors
NBC knew it was taking a gamble with the hour-long drama; months before it even aired, conservative groups like the Parents Television Council were vehemently protesting the show. Upon cancellation, the Council issued this statement:
"Bringing 'The Playboy Club' to broadcast television was a poor programming decision from the start. We're pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women … we hope other broadcasters heed the important lessons of this programming debacle."
"The Playboy Club" wasn't exactly breaking ground in the niche of sixties misogyny--indeed it was perceived as a "Mad Men" wannabe from the start. That said, racy period pieces that have seen success haven't aired on broadcast networks, and clearly the audience just wasn't ready for bustiers and bushy tails.
The show premiered to low ratings and then dropped for each of its three telecasts. It debuted with a 1.6 rating in the advertiser-coveted 18-49 demographic and an underwhelming 5.15 million viewers. By last night, the third episode was down to 3.4 million viewers and an abysmal 1.2 rating. That's rough, and not just for the 10 p.m. slot on a broadcast network.
Second-rate cable-worthy ratings weren't the only thing working against "The Playboy Club." Former real-life bunnies were coming out in droves to air grievances over the alleged misrepresentation of their lewd and luxe lifestyle. Vanity Fair contacted former Playboy gal Marilyn Miller for her thoughts:
“I’m so disappointed,” she wrote. “None of those things happened. They did a wonderful job re-creating the club physically, but everything else was cheap, it was degrading, it was demoralizing. It makes the Bunnies seem silly. You didn't have time to stand around and flirt with the customers or talk to the other Bunnies or run around and get in trouble or have a smoke in the back alley. You were so busy. You worked!” And, she concluded, “not one Bunny I know liked the show. Everyone is hoping it gets canceled.”
Well, Bunnies one and all can now rest assured that they'll only be finding modern dopplegangers in the magazine from now on. So what now? Brian Williams' newsmagazine "Rock Center" will be taking over the time slot starting October 31. In the meantime, while repeats of Maria Bello's "Prime Suspect" fill the airwaves, who can help but wonder what show will get the axe next?
For NBC, "Free Agents" will likely be next under the guillotine; the comedy that stars Hank Azaria opposite Kathryn Hahn has met even worse ratings than "The Playboy Club." The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman called ABC's "Charlie's Angels" reboot "atrocious," and the numbers reflect the sentiment. Also at ABC, "Revenge" doesn't stand a chance up against "CSI" in the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot, and the fate of NBC's "Grimm" is all in the name. Don't worry Bunnies; you won't be alone for long.
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