Salt Lake City station opts out of fall series

An NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City is refusing to air the network’s upcoming drama “The Playboy Club,” citing concerns over associating with the Playboy brand.

KSL-TV issued a statement Monday from Mark Willes, president and CEO of the station, signaling its intent to replace “Club” with a different program in the Monday 10 p.m. timeslot this fall.

“The Playboy brand is known internationally. Everyone is clear what it stands for. We want to be sure everyone is clear what the KSL brand stands for, which is completely inconsistent with the Playboy brand.”

KSL is owned by Deseret Media, which is controlled by the Mormon church. The station has a history of avoiding risque programming, including the 2003 sitcom “Coupling” and the 2000 animated series “God, the Devil and Bob.”

KSL announced the decision during a newscast Monday morning, declaring its intent to work with NBC on exploring options to make the program available on another channel.

NBC issued a statement Monday afternoon in response to KSL’s refusal. “While we are disappointed with KSL’s decision, we are confident that the show will find another home in the Salt Lake City market.”

A KSL anchor characterized the decision on air as being consistent with the station’s “long-term policy to screen programming for material which significant portions of our audience might find objectionable.”

No other NBC affiliate has publicly declined to air “Club,” nor is any other station expected to, insiders said.

Produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Imagine Television, “Club” is set at the original Playboy club in 1960s-era Chicago.

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