NBC station refuses to air 'The Playboy Club'


Image Credit: Matt Dinerstein/NBC

Salt Lake City wants to put a black wrapper on NBC’s new drama series The Playboy Club.

The NBC affiliate in Utah announced on its Web site that it won’t air the new drama series this fall. The decision “is based on the station’s long-term policy to screen programming for material which significant portions of our audience may find objectionable.”

The station’s president and CEO Mark Willes said Playboy is not a match for the station’s brand. “The Playboy brand is known internationally. Everyone is clear what it stands for,” he said in a statement. “We want to be sure everyone is clear what the KSL brand stands for, which is completely inconsistent with the Playboy brand.”

NBC insiders point out that the station is in a unique situation since its parent company Bonneville International is owned by the Church of The Latter-day Saints. The station’s executive said he’ll work with NBC to find ways for the show to be seen in Salt Lake City “on another channel.”

“Our intent is not to tell people what they can and cannot watch, but rather to share programming with our audience in accordance with our mission,” added KSL programming director Michelle Torsak.

The Playboy Club, which will air Mondays at 10 p.m. this fall, is a Mad Men-style drama set in the 1960s at a Playboy-branded Chicago nightclub. One station refusing to run the show is a problematic sign, as it could prompt others to bow out too.

NBC last faced an affiliate revolt in 2009 when a Boston station declared that it would not air The Jay Leno Show at 10 p.m., and the network quickly persuaded the channel’s owner to reverse his stance. NBC has not yet commented on the Utah station’s decision.

Read more:
‘Playboy Club’ star Amber Heard: ‘I don’t think it’s that racy’
Watch trailers for NBC’s new shows
Ken Tucker: Can you get a bigger audience by combining Playboy bunnies with ‘Parenthood’?


Comments (141 total) Add your comment
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  • Meli

    I’m so tired of affiliate management making the decision on what the public will and will not watch. Why not show the program at the time slot NBC wants it aired, follow the local ratings, and then make the decision? If the public finds the program offensive they won’t watch it.

    • Nicotine

      Th funny thing is… a survey was done to see which state had the most online porn subscriptions in America and Utah won by a wide margin.

      These people – mostly mormons, mostly republicans – try so hard to project this clean, pure image. But then they have all kinds of dirty secrets in their closets.

      • wsugar

        Yeah it’s the Republicans who like to play with thier wiener.

      • thou doth protest too much

        no, idiot. the point is that NOone is immune to “sin”. And that it’s stupid to try and act like one group is impervious to scandal and to slander another for not having “family values”. be smart and judge INDIVIDUALS and not groups. No one group is better than another. There are plenty of skeletons in most people’s closets regardless of their political leanings. This commentor was just pointing out the hypocrisy of many republican groups who try and act as if they are holier than thou. Everyone’s #$*t stinks.

      • wsugar

        @thou are a moron – my point was he should not judge a group, which you first agree with, then go back to all republicans are wieners. Yes hypocrisy is wonderfull when you use it. One statement we can all agree on is you are an idiot.

      • rerun

        To be fair, I live in Utah, and probably 40% of that online porn consumption comes just from me. So the rest of the state is pretty clean.

      • Jono


        40% of Utah isn’t Mormon, so this may not be just a Mormon problem in the state of Utah.

    • LOL

      Utah strikes again. What a cracker state! Hilarious.

    • Jen E.

      They should be stripped of any NBC affiliation. My local STL stations have done this in the past, deciding to show some country bumpkin concerts instead of primetime programming and it’s inexcusable. If these stations want to make up their own programming then they need to operate an independent channel where they can play TV God for their whopping 7 viewers.

      • rerun

        Another Utah thing is Saturday Night Live airs on our CW station.

    • Floopa Bambers

      I have to say that I am SO proud that a TV station finally showed some courage and conviction and declined to air yet another morally compromised show. Just last week on television, I saw two gay characters and one mixed race couple! Enough is enough, liberal Hollywood.

      • gina

        Yep! Agreed!

      • John M.

        And what is wrong with mixed race couples? Please explain! Not ALL such pairings are liberal.

      • rebecca

        You’re offended by a mixed race couple? Seriously? What is this, the 1960s?

      • mmartian

        Good one, really. Liberal post pretending to be a wackjob extremist. (that no thinking person from the right believes) I am sure you will find a couple falling for it

      • John M.

        Rebecca, I’m TOLERANT of interracial marriages and relationships. You probably misread my reaction to what Floopa said about a mixed race couple.

      • MikeyNYC

        If you were any more a troll, you’d be living under a bridge!

      • Christopher

        really, everyone, really? Is this sarcasm not blatantly obvious to everyone else?

    • elcamino

      Why go through the trouble of having to readjust your schedule for a series that cleary won’t last a season.

    • Christopher

      Maybe the affiliate has made a business decision, and is putting something on that it believes will be able to gain more ratings than the Playboy Club in an ultra conservative area of the country. We do believe in the right of businesses to try and maximize profits right?

    • PENNY


  • MSR

    “Our intent is not to tell people what they can and cannot watch,” and yet they aren’t giving the people the chance to watch it on the day and time it is supposed to air on NBC. What’s the point, as said people will be able to find it on Hulu, NBC.com and other avenues anyway?

  • Em


    • crispy

      I know! You’d think Mormons would be pro-Playboy Channel considering Hugh Hefner has 3 or 4 girlfriends at once!

      • Deb N


      • Alice


  • Rissa

    With all of the parental controls around these days, it shouldn’t be the affiliate’s responsibility to censor the programming of its parent broadcast company. If people don’t want to watch, or don’t want their children to watch the show, they don’t have to tune in. It’s as simple as that. Way to go, SLUT.

  • Chris

    Guess which state has the highest subscription rate to online porn at 5.47 subscribers per 1,000 residents. Utah!!! Something tells me plenty of people would watch.

  • Dave

    Well it’s no surprise this is happening in Salt Lake City.

  • BillyD

    One might think that TVs in Salt Lake City would have channel changers and off buttons, but I guess not.

  • Jay

    hahahahahah… So gald I dont live in Utah. Thay are so Bass Ackwards in that state

    • themusicaddict.blogspot.com

      We’re glad you don’t live here either.

      • Damon

        Yes, some people actually do prefer not to live in a state where they actually censor and make decisions for the people living in that city instead of giving them a choice. How very liberal of them.

      • themusicaddict.blogspot.com

        The state or the LDS Church does not make any decisions for people. Only an idiot would say that they do. Of course the LDS Church has influence, but not veto power.

      • Gray Garters

        Tell me more about this LSD church! Where do I sign up??

      • Spambalaya

        “Of course the LDS Church has influence, but not veto power.”

        The LDS Church vetoed the broadcast of “The Playboy Club” on their station. They made the decision for the viewers rather than let the viewers decide for themselves. Did you even read the story?

      • Jono


        Jesus was kind to all. The only people he had harsh words for were for those who believed themselves to be righteous, but were actually unloving and full of spite. Please, knock off the condescending talk towards those you disagree with. It’s making the rest of us Mormons look bad.

  • Saulo

    Marketing strategy. A great way to let people know this rather uninteresting show exists;

    • Tego Livi

      I think it’s just the affiliate trying to score points with the prudes. They know the show will only be on a week or two anyway.

  • mangagirl

    Just change the darn channel if you don’t want to watch it! How dare an affiliate choose what you watch… what happened to freedom to choose.

    • squirk

      What about the freedom of a privately owned TV station to air what they choose? Freedom cuts both ways—and this church has chosen to own this station, and therefore has the same freedom I do as an individual what to do with my privately owned possessions and/or company.

    • Judy Sharp

      You got that right!! Change the channel!!
      I am a Former Playboy Bunny from San Francisco and worked in A Great Position for Playboy Clubs International as a “Bunny Mother” in Cincinnati and Miami, from 1965-89!! What a Great Company to work for and HEF is such an Icon!! This is History Folks, and us Playboy Bunny “Baby Boomers” are very proud to have been part of the Playboy Sorority of Bunnies who celebrate a Sisterhood to this day!! Our next Bunny Reunion is next year in New Orleans and we will have a great time together!!!
      Playboy London is opening again on June 14th 2011
      GO PLAYBOY!!!!! Judy Sharp Bunny Mother Playboy forever!!!!

  • Amanda B.

    This show’s gonna be a flop….and not just in Salt Lake City.

    • Judy Sharp

      Think it will be as good as Dynasty was!! More to it than what some closed minded people know about the background of Playboy, it’s not just a Layout in a Magazine!! This is a True to Life Story of life as we knew it in the 60’s!!!! Check it out with your mind open!!

  • J

    I live in SLC. This is even over the top for this affiliate. They broadcast shows that seem to have much worse content then I see in this shows preview. L&O SVU,CI & LA, many Dateline episodes as well as Love Bites amoung many others. In the Pilot episode of Love Bites they are talking about sex toys you dont fell that your audience may find that objectionable? They state the show was screened yet they only mention the title of the show being the problem, not the content. Talk about judging a book by its cover.

    • rerun

      J, they also broadcast SNL on the CW. So not that surprising really.

  • Rebecca

    I think this is great! So many people in the entertainment industry seem to be morally bankrupt. It’s reassuring that someone would take a stand against some clearly questionable material. If someone really wanted to watch this new show, or any other, they have about a million and one other ways to access it. Besides, the station isn’t publicly owned so why can’t they run it how they want? Stating that “this is censorship” is simply not accurate. The station is not seeking to destroy this show. It’s not even denying anyone else access to it. Rather, the station has decided that this particular show would not be in line with their business model, nor would it make a significant portion of their viewers happy. It’s not censorship it’s smart business. …Also it’s a good moral decision.
    Suggesting parental controls or just turning off the TV for viewers who do not wish to participate is uninformed. I’ve never watched a single second of The Jersey Shore but I still know it exists and I still know who Snookie is. (Ugh- whyyyy is that information taking up space in my brain!?) You can’t block pop-culture, unless you want to be a crazy person and live in a completely shut off compound. I think it’s wonderful that someone is making a good moral choice.

    • Melissa

      Parental Controls dont work because they dont censor out the commercials for these types of programs. I dont like feeling demeaned when something like this is aired. Or having my family members close their eyes every five seconds because it is not something allowed in our house. Sex or nudity or half nudity does not have to be on every show or every commerical in order to be successful. Even shows that used to be wonderful have stooped this low now. When will they learn?

      • free choice and speech

        there are plenty of christian networks, television shows and dvds you can watch. if you think there’s a lot of smut on tv (and i think many would agree with you) and if it is THAT offensive to you (i think many would NOT agree with you), don’t subscribe to television and watch only christian programming that you think is appropriate for your family. you have that choice.

    • Rebecca

      @ Free choice and speech: Respectfully, why is it that when a television station chooses not to air a certain show you cannot support that choice? It is theirs to make after all. It seems you really only support the free choice and speech that you agree with.

      • Abe Linco

        Could not agree with you more.
        Any left wing liberal care to make a rational comment?

    • Kelly

      Wow, you are misguided,especially because you make a snap judgment about a show based on its title and based on the fact that you’ve not seen a single episode. Moreover, you are not the arbiter of what people deem “moral” or “immoral.” For you to make the blanket statement that “..nor would it make a significan portion of their viewers happy” is nothing more than conjecture on your part based on a myopic view of how you believe the world should be. Turn off the television if you don’t approve of the show. You have no right to make that same decision for others.

    • Meli

      The problem, Rebecca, is that you live in a community among many others, and not everyone shares the same ‘values’ as you. The TV station is contractually obligated of its own accord to run TV programs by NBC, and they shouldn’t have the power to pick and choose which primetime programs it will choose to air. In addition, the FCC mandates TV stations to represent the community interests, which means it has to be on the air for more people than you. If they wish to take the same stand as you and only show programs they deem ‘moral’ or ‘wholesome’ or whatever, they have that ability simply by giving up their affiliation with NBC and becoming an independent TV station. Then they can pick and choose what programs they air completely, with the understanding they are for the community at large, not just you. The simple fact is, Pop Culture has been around from the beginning, before TV, before movies, even back in Biblical days. This is nothing new, and if you’re simply not up to the job of raising your kids with a sense of right and wrong yourself and fighting off the Pop Culture and imposing a sense of rules within your home, the state you live in will be more than happy to take your children and raise them for you.

      • Rhaegar

        They basically are an independent channel, merely contracting with NBC to broadcast their shows. If NBC decides that this affiliate is violating the terms of the contract, then they would be within their rights to sue. Other than that, there’s nothing to see here. If NBC decides that it’s perfectly fine for their affiliate to find another home for the show in their region, then that is their own business decision.

        I’m not a Christian or even religious. I don’ have any particular objection to this show, besides the fact that it looks pretty dumb. But I still think this network should be able to broadcast what it feels will best advance its interests. This is not a public station.

    • Spambalaya

      The programs you complain about are on the air because there are enough viewers out there watching them to make them profitable. If there’s a problem, then it lies at least as much with your friends and neighbors who watch “Jersey Shore” as it does with the network that airs it. (And I’ve never watched an episode of “Jersey Shore” and don’t know anything about Snooki. It just takes a little self-policing to keep out the useless cultural noise if you don’t want to hear it. Censorship is not the answer.)

  • Tony

    I’m sure the tv show “Big Love” would be an acceptable show to present in Utah, that show demontrates what Utah stands for

    • themusicaddict.blogspot.com

      Um, no. Please find out what you are talking about before sharing your opinion.

      • hello?

        and apparently you don’t understand that thing called sarcasm…

      • Jono

        @themusicaddict I am assuming from your other posts that you are a Mormon. I am too, and I have to say that your tone with people is off-putting. Calling someone an idiot, or implying that they are, is not turning the other cheek nor is it defending the faith. It’s simply condscending.

      • Jono


  • Will

    F! I live in SLC Utah! This is so disappointing. Being a non-mormon in this state there are so many times I feel embarrassed by the crap that the mormon church does…like when they banned Brokeback Mountain from playing in the Megaplex theaters when Hostel was opening the same week (which you know they totally ok with). Ugh, disappointing Utah

    • themusicaddict.blogspot.com

      You are an idiot, the Mormon Church didn’t ban anything from playing at the Megaplex theatres. It was a person living their religion that banned that movie. But if Mormons allowed movies like “Brokeback Mountain” played then they would be acused of being hypocrites.

      • Jackie D

        I just went to your blog – LAME!

        Here’s some unfortunate facts for you: Nobody cares about your opinion with music and nobody cares about your opinion on EW.com.

        Since you only deal with name-calling, let me call you what everyone else in your private life has – LOSER.

      • themusicaddict.blogspot.com

        Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • rerun

      That’s funny. I always used the same exact example. Larry Miller banned Brokeback on “moral grounds” but apparently murdering tourists is morally fine. Glad this was after the Olympics.

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