‘Playboy Club’ canceled after three episodes, Parents Television Council rejoices

Laura Donovan Contributor
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NBC’s new drama “Playboy Club,” which was unpopular long before airing, has been canceled after a whopping three episodes.

The show, which premiered to an underwhelming 5 million viewers last month, has decreased in popularity each week. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the program’s most recent episode only drew in 3.2 million viewers.

Aside from its poor ratings, “Playboy Club” was blasted the Parents Television Council, women’s rights leader Gloria Steinem and former Playboy Bunny Marilyn Miller before the network gave it the boot. (MORE: Former Playboy Bunny: ‘Playboy Club’ show inaccurate, ‘degrading, demoralizing’)

“We’re pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women,” PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement. “The network’s decision to air this series was a violation of the public trust that comes with the privilege of holding a broadcast license.”

As PTC noted in the statement, the organization has had an intense anti-“Playboy Club” campaign for quite a while. Several weeks ago, the group urged citizens to hold Unilever and Chrysler/Dodge publicly accountable for supporting the series. PTC said that Unilever brands such as Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu were advertised during “Playboy Club,” and even before the premiere of the show, PTC pleaded with potential advertisers not to “support the glorification of the Playboy brand and the objectification of women.”

“The ratings for ‘The Playboy Club’ speak for themselves,” Winter said in an earlier statement. “Clearly, Americans aren’t interested in tuning in to a show that amounts to little more than a chauvinistic advertisement for the Playboy brand. Advertisers should take a cue from viewers and find something else to support.”

“Playboy Club” centered on the bunnies and patrons of Chicago’s Playboy Club in the 1960s and featured scantily-clad servers mingling with customers and clients. According to former Bunny Miller, the program included inaccuracies because bunnies were forbidden from participating in such activity.

“None of those things happened,” Miller wrote. “The first thing that was incorrect was the dancing together — we never danced! The Bunnies danced together, but never with a customer. It was a rule. You couldn’t dance with the keyholders. They couldn’t touch you. You couldn’t date them, or you’d get fired. The Bunnies enforced the rule themselves — they didn’t want to get hit on all the time.”

Miller, who worked in the Chicago, New York and L.A. Playboy clubs throughout the ’60s, added that “Playboy Club” could give her own offspring the wrong idea about her career.

“They did a wonderful job re-creating the club physically, but everything else… And now my son thinks some of these things happened!” Miller wrote. “I thought it was cheap, it was degrading, it was demoralizing. It makes the Bunnies seem silly… Not one Bunny I know liked the show. Everyone is hoping it gets canceled.”

Many celebrated the end of “Playboy Club”, but Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner himself expressed disappointment in its nixing.

“I’m sorry NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club’ didn’t find it’s audience,” Hefner tweeted Tuesday. “It should have been on cable, aimed at a more adult audience.”

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Laura Donovan