Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Salt Lake City's NBC Station Refuses To Air "Play Boy Club" Tv Show

The NBC station in Salt Lake City has informed the network that it will not air the new series “The Playboy Club” because the affiliate does not want to be associated with the Playboy brand.

“For us, the issue is about the Playboy brand, something we believe is associated with pornography and something we don’t want to further in our programming,” Michelle Torsak, programming chief at station KSL, told The TV Column on Monday.

Torsak said that station execs had not yet seen the full pilot episode for “The Playboy Club” — just the four-minute-ish “sizzle reel” shown to station execs and advertisers in mid-May at NBC’s Upfront Week presentation in Manhattan.

The drama series, produced by Ron Howard/Brian Grazer’s Imagine Television (with 20th Century Fox TV), stars Eddie Cibrian as one of the patrons of the original Playboy Club in 1960s Chicago.

KSL’s decision “screams hypocrisy,” Salt Lake Tribune TV critic Scott Pierce said Monday, insisting that “The Playboy Club” pilot episode is far less “adult” than “every episode” of the long-running NBC series “Law & Order: SVU” — a series that KSL broadcasts.

Pierce, on a roll, also noted that KSL aired nearly 200 episodes of the now-defunct NBC sitcom “Will & Grace,” which, he snipped, “never met a dirty joke it didn’t like.”

But, Torsak emphasized to the TV Column, “It really is a brand question.”

“It’s entirely possible that the actual content [of ‘The Playboy Club’] is comparable to anything else on network television,” she said.

And in an interview with the Deseret News, Mark Willis, president and chief executive of the KSL parent company, Deseret Media Companies, went with: “We would never accept an ad from ‘The Playboy Club,’ just as we don’t accept ads for alcohol or gambling.”

The Deseret News is also owned by Deseret Media Companies which, in turn, is controlled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Despite all the “It’s the brand, stupid” talk, KSL — upon officially announcing its decision to its viewers in one of its newscasts Monday — explained that it had based its decision on its “long-term policy to screen programming for material which significant portions of our audience might find objectionable.”

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