Critics adored it. Frank Rich of The New York Times raved, "Bruckheimer didn't get where he is by being ahead of the curve. He is the curve. His gut tells him, accurately, that porn is not just well within the American mainstream but overdue to be stripped of its plain brown wrapper in prime time."
But does this sound familiar? Bruckheimer expressed his intention to have the DVD release contain more explicit edits of the episodes than what was broadcast on Fox. Sometimes, these business ploys don't pay off. Unfortunately for Bruckheimer and his media boosters like Rich, Fox only aired six episodes before it all ended with a ratings-crashing yawn.
So much for "Bruckheimer isn't ahead of the curve. He is the curve."
Even if NBC picked up the show and steered clear of a nudity clause, the show could give a boost to Hefner's flagging porn empire. Stock analysts have seen quarterly loss after quarterly loss for Playboy, and Hefner bought back his shares at an inflated price to avoid a takeover by other pornographers. One thing is making money for Playboy: licensing its brand.
If NBC picks up this show, the resulting glamour could provide a real, well, "stimulus" for the Playboy brand. The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas opened a Playboy Club in 2006, and a new Playboy Club opened this month in the hot spot of Macau on China's southern coast.
How times have changed. In 2011, "The Playboy Club" defines what the "progressives" in Hollywood will glamorize. But back in 1985, ABC made a TV-movie called "A Bunny's Tale" to dramatize uber-feminist Gloria Steinem's 1963 expose of the Playboy clubs as a thankless job for the overworked, underdressed help.
Where are Steinem and her brigade of feminists to protest NBC and Fox for their Hefner-boosting plans in 2011? This is just another example marking how lame and discredited the feminist movement looks today.