New NBC 'Playboy' Show Causes Controversy

Salt Lake City affiliate refuses to air program this Fall

POSTED: 09:34 PM MDT Sep 15, 2011    UPDATED: 06:36 AM MDT Aug 10, 2011 
REXBURG, Idaho -

A new TV show in NBC's fall line up hasn't hit the airwaves just yet, but it's already causing controversy.

KSL in Salt Lake City is refusing to air a drama about the early years of the first Playboy club in Chicago.

Clips show the typical leotard costume with a tail and of course the bunny ears. NBC executives describe it as a soap opera with a crime element and an "appropriate" rating, but some in eastern Idaho want our local NBC affiliate to also pull the plug.

Previews for "The Playboy Club" promise drama, glamour and those bunny costumes; all a part of founder Hugh Hefner's very first club.

"We capture, in some sense, that retro-romantic connection from the early 60s and it's wonderful," said Hefner.

But some beg to differ, like watch-dog group The Parents Television Council, or NBC's Salt Lake City affiliate, which is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is refusing to air the show.

Carissa Abrams is asking eastern Idaho's KPVI to do the same. The Rexburg woman sent a letter to Newschannel 6 about ten days ago.

"It's pornographic," said Abrams. "It's demeaning to women."

Abrams hasn't received a response. But when we called KPVI, General Manager Shelley Goings said "That is an NBC program, so my contract dictates that I must air it."

"I mean, look at those costumes," said Carl Palmer. "(They're) very tame by current standards."

Palmer, and many others at Villa Coffeehouse in downtown Idaho Falls, said the decision should be up to the individual, not the affiliate.

"So options have to be out there and available for them to make the choice," said Larry Hull.

"If you want something for kids, there's movies ... Disney movies, cartoons," said Jonathon Yonk. "Better yet, if it's nice out, go outside and play."

The dialogue on Facebook was very similar.

Dallas commented, "If you don't want to watch it, change the channel. But we should get that choice."

Pamela agreed, writing: "There is a little button on the remote that we can use at any time."

It looks like Abrams will have to do just that come Fall.

"I don't want my daughters to grow up in a world where they feel the only way they can get somewhere is to use their bodies," said the mother of two.

In a poll on our website on Wednesday, nearly half of the 175 people who responded said KPVI should follow in KSL's footsteps and ban the bunnies.

But as managers said, the show will go on.

"The Playboy Club" is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 19.