NBC: ‘Playboy’ not pushing boundaries

Greenblatt sez frosh drama is more sudsy than sexy

Playboy is one of the most recognizable brands in the world, but it’s also a lightning rod.

NBC learned that lesson in June when its Salt Lake City affiliate KSL-TV said it wouldn’t air “The Playboy Club” because the Playboy brand was inconsistent with the station’s brand.

Peacock topper Robert Greenblatt addressed that in Monday’s executive session at the Television Critics Assn. confab in Beverly Hills and said that KSL also doesn’t air “Saturday Night Live,” so the move wasn’t all that surprising to him.

“Every other affiliate is on board,” Greenblatt said.

Marketing topper Adam Stotsky said it’s not necessary to interact with other aspects of the Playboy brand — either the magazine or mansion — in order to get the word out. He sees the upcoming series as something closer to “Desperate Housewives” than a boundary-pushing broadcast show that wishes it could push the envelope on cable.

“The show is a soap opera,” Stotsky said. “There’s nothing racy about it. … We’re more interested in the characters and the bunnies and what’s happening inside their world at this time. That’s where we think the heart and soul of the marketing is.”

Greenblatt agreed, and said it was worth the risk for NBC, which is looking for some signature skeins to lift it out of fourth place.

“I think ‘The Playboy Club’ is much more of an energized soap opera, which is a genre that works really well,” he said. “What I think it has going for it is a recognizable brand that’s automatically going to draw attention to it, good or bad. It’s the right kind of thing for us to try.”

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