The creator of The Playboy Club, which was axed by NBC yesterday, has told Out magazine that he wishes the show had gone to Bravo, where the core audience of straight women and gay men might have been quicker to embrace the risqué show which attracted the ire of Gloria Steinem and the Parents Television Council, among others.
“I think NBC gave up too soon,” said Chad Hodge, who created the show that centers on the employees of the famed Playboy Club in Chicago in the 1960s. “Had NBC stuck with the show I think many more millions would have eventually shown up. Those who found the show realized it wasn’t what they expected—it was good. It was entertaining, sophisticated, and dazzling. It dealt with social mores and moral ethics. And it was an intentional guilty pleasure.”
Hodge is hopeful that another channel may yet pick up the show. “For weeks now, I’ve been saying we should move over to Bravo. This is a fun, sexy, soapy show, and our core audience is women and gay men. No brainer for them. Bravo has wanted to get into scripted programming for years now. I’d love them to pick up the show. If one million people watched our show on Bravo—a quarter of our NBC audience—it would be a runaway hit.”
Hodge, who is currently shooting the sixth episode of the show, concurred with True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard, who tells Out in an upcoming interview, that Americans are too conservative when it comes to sex, but too liberal on violence. “I’m constantly surprised, over and over again, by how nervous this country is,” said Hodge. “What happened? Remember Basic Instinct? Fatal Attraction? The Red Shoe Diaries? We’ve become such prudes … Sexuality is part of life. I’d be more worried about my kid seeing horrific violence than I would about them seeing network-approved make-out sessions.”
On a positive note, Hodge dismissed fears that the show’s cancellation would lead to networks curtailing gay plotlines or characters. “We were never criticized for the gay characters, actors, or plots,” he said. “In fact NBC encouraged us to make the gay storyline even bigger because it was working so well.”