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The Playboy Club: Too sexy for network TV?

NBC's adult drama about the birth of Hugh Hefner's gentlemen's club doesn't premiere until fall, but it's already getting TV watchdogs steamed up

Two months before its premiere, NBC's new boundary-pushing drama The Playboy Club is already being deemed insufficiently chaste for network TV. The Parents Television Council (PTC) released an open letter this week urging NBC affiliates around the country not to air the sex-tinged series, which follows the '60s birth of Chicago's first Playboy Club, saying it promotes pornography through its association with Hugh Hefner's skin-mag brand. So far, only Salt Lake City's NBC affiliate has announced it won't air the program. Should others follow suit? (Watch a trailer for the show.)

Yes. Boycott this show: "Putting a veneer of sophistication" on the porn industry is "disgraceful," says Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council. What sort of "public interest" does a program like The Playboy Club, with its inextricable ties to the sex industry, serve? Forget whether the "inexcusable" promos running during "family-friendly" programs like America's Got Talent are appropriate. The show shouldn't be airing at all. "NBC Playboy show suffers first station loss from opposition efforts"

This is just lame bullying from prudes: The "sensationalistic wording" of PTC's condemnation of The Playboy Club, says Sam McPherson at TV Overmind, may indeed scare off advertisers, just as PTC's swipe at MTV's Skins did last year. But if a show is cancelled, it should be because people chose not to watch, not because "a small group of bullies" chased off its ad money. The PTC seems to forget that nobody's forcing families to tune in. There are remote controls that "are able to — gasp — change the channel.""The Parents Television Council launches attack on NBC's The Playboy Club"

But any publicity is good publicity: The chronically concerned PTC's vow to "inundate the FCC with indecency complaints" may be counterproductive, says Mike McComb at TV Latest. After all, the series is scheduled to air at 10 p.m. — an hour at which programs are subjected to fewer decency guidelines by the FCC. Such complaints would be fruitless. "In other words, NBC can thank the PTC for free advertising." "Parents Television Council targets NBC's The Playboy Club"

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