July 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A prominent parents group is calling on local stations to refuse to air the NBC series “The Playboy Club,” in a letter sent to the network’s affiliate stations this week.
The series, which is scheduled to premiere on September 19th, follows the lives of several employees of the first Playboy Club in Chicago in the early 1960s. A promotional for the show on NBC’s website calls it “the door to all your fantasies.”
“Today, people wish we were living in unhealthier times,” Chad Hodge, the show’s creator, told the Los Angeles Times. “Watching this pilot, people are always like, ‘I wish I could smoke and drink and have sex in the bathroom’. Now if you do those things, you’ll die.”
In his letter objecting to the show, Parents Television Council (PTC) President Timothy Winter drew attention to the implications of promoting such anti-values.
“Forty percent of sex addicts lose their spouses, 58% suffer financial losses, one third lose their jobs. Pornography use increases the risk of marital infidelity by more than 300%,” Winters wrote to NBC affiliates across the country.
“I call these statistics to your attention because I assume you must be unaware of how damaging the pornography industry is to our society, to our families, and to individuals. Otherwise how on earth could you, in good conscience, agree to broadcast in your community a program that glorifies and glamorizes this insidious industry?”
The letter also noted that affiliates would not be able to shift responsibility to the network if the show is found to violate anti-decency laws, but would have to pay fines leveled by the Federal Communications Commission themselves.
Winters pledged that his organization would review every episode for violations of such laws, and urge its members to file complaints with the FCC.
“The record on this is clear: contracts between networks and their affiliates may not legally prevent preemption of programming that does not meet local community standards,” Winter wrote. “As a station manager, you not only have a right, but an obligation to preempt programs like The Playboy Club that fail to meet that standard.”
As Winter noted in the letter, Utah NBC affiliate KSL has already exercised that right and refused to air the series. KSL’s president Mark Willes called the Playboy brand “completely inconsistent” with the station’s values.
According to a TV Guide report, the rights to the show were acquired by another Salt Lake City station, KMYU, which plans to air the series in its Monday night slot.
NBC has publicly defended its association with the Playboy brand, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“They have to do what they have to do,” Robert Greenblatt, NBC’s Chairman of Entertainment, told the news service in reference to KSL’s refusal to air the series. “[But if] I thought it was inappropriate to the brand, I wouldn’t put it on.”
The PTC letter is not the first time the organization has spoken out against the series. Winter issued a statement in April in response to media reports that actors for the series had been required to sign a “nudity clause,” contractually committing to do scenes with nudity and “simulated sex acts.”
According to the contract, reported by the New York Post, such acts “may be required in connection with player’s services in the pilot and/or series.”
Winter called the clause “virtually unheard of for broadcast TV,” adding that it “underscores the critical need for President Obama to direct the Justice Department to appeal the Second Circuit’s obliteration of the broadcast decency law.”
According to the Post report, the more explicit scenes covered under the nudity clause are believed to be intended for DVD and domestic and foreign syndication rather than for viewing on broadcast television.