So far, one brave NBC affiliate, KSL in Salt Lake City, has refused to join in this porn-promoting parade. "The Playboy brand is known internationally," KSL President Mark Willes declared. "Everyone is clear what it stands for. We want to be sure everyone is clear what the KSL brand stands for, which is completely inconsistent with the Playboy brand. We would be helping to build a brand that stands for pornography. For us, that's just untenable."
NBC president Robert Greenblatt has offered his rebuttal, and wrapped himself in a mantle of righteousness. "What it has going for it is a recognizable brand that's automatically going to draw attention to it, good or bad," he said. "It's the right kind of thing for us to try."
The same could be said for the KKK. It has a "recognizable brand." Would NBC consider a drama in that direction?
In an attempt to prevent this seedy show from the avalanche of bad publicity it so richly deserves, the producers of "The Playboy Club" are trying some real spin-control howlers. Like, this show is really about the female characters and their empowerment. It's "all about empowering these women to be whatever they want to be," executive producer Chad Hodge told a room of reporters in Los Angeles from the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour.
The critics aren't buying it. "I hear someone use the word 'empowering' but I've heard from my female readers that a show centered on Playboy...they don't see it as empowering," said one.
So far, NBC isn't finding fans in any corner. But NBC president Greenblatt is trying to insist the show won't lose another affiliate, and the show isn't really that edgy. "I guess I wasn't completely surprised (at the Utah defection). That brand name is a little polarizing. I think the show isn't all that revealing." Hodge even claimed, "It's mild compared to anything else on television. It really has nothing to do with anything racy or trying to be exploitative."
So why not call it "The Copacabana Club"? It's "The Playboy Club" because it wants to be racy. And it is going to be exploitative. That's the ugly reality.