Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"The Playboy Club" cancellation countdown begins

Well, the first casualty of the 2011-12 season has been identified.

After much promotion as well as much hubbub, including calls for cancellation from both the left-wing weirdos at San Francisco city hall and the right-wing nutcases in Utah, the first victim will certainly be NBC's The Playboy Club.

And why is that?  Well, first the ratings came in and they were dismal.  Five million total viewers and 1.6 million in the important 18-49 demo.  Gag me with a bunny tail.

But let's review what the problems are...

Target audience vs. Misogyny: The show is most certainly aimed at women, which is counter to the Playboy brand.  And women, or at least the ones I know, don't want to see other women objectified.  So you're essentially alienating your target audience before the show even airs.  Producers can say the show is about "female empowerment" all they want, but no one is believing it.

No sex: There was barely even a lip-lock in the pilot.  The show was about as stimulating as looking at a strip club from the outside. 

No nudity: Like it or not, Playboy is associated with nudity.  I don't care if it's the club or the magazine, there's an expectation of some skin.  That's certainly not going to happen, unless Dennis Franz's butt makes an appearance.  And no one wants that.

No Hef: Sure they have one brief segment when Laura Benanti talks to the back of his head, but he needs a much larger presence in the show.  The Playboy identity is so inextricably linked to Hugh Hefner that having a show without him somewhere between irresponsible and impossible.

The Mad Men effect: "Me too" programming only works if you have characters that people love, hate, relate to or aspire to be.  The Playboy Club offers nothing that Mad Men does in this regard. 

No cat fights: You know what the show really needs, a good old cat fight.  It worked for Dynasty back in the day.  And Amber Heard and Jenna Dewan-Tatum (whoever that is) are way better looking than Linda Evans and Joan Collins ever were.  Bring out the claws. 

It's a boring topic: No one cares about the lives of Playboy Bunnies.  If they care about anything related to Playboy, they care about Hugh Hefner and his story.  Everything else is a distant fourth place (just like NBC).

So why do I give it another 89 days and counting (see the counter on the right)?  NBC put in an order for 12 episodes plus the pilot.  And NBC can't afford to piss off Brian Grazer, the show's producer.  They need him more than he needs them.

My guess is that The Playboy Club moves to the TV graveyard of Friday or Saturday night before the whole thing is over.

And then it will be over.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. The Playboy Club could ride the tide of Mad Men better if it applied the same attention to historical detail, rather than directing the actors to try and impersonate their favorite Mad Men character.

A question for Temp X: Why does Tampax's product placement keep obstructing the flow of the storyline in ambitious period pieces?

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